Sixteen-year-old Brittany Indvik says she was just trying to promote breast cancer awareness when she and her friends wore brightly colored rubber bracelets declaring “I (Heart) Boobies, Keep-a-Breast” to school at Klahowya Secondary School.
But school administrators say the bracelets are disrupting the learning environment and have asked students to either turn the bracelets inside out or leave them at home. The teens are putting up a fight.
From the Kitsap Sun:
Indvik said she wants to wear the bracelets as a way to recognize the fight against breast cancer. The Keep-A-Breast Foundation, a nonprofit based in Southern California, is dedicated to teaching young people about breast cancer. The foundation’s bracelets are for sale on its website, but they’re also at stores popular with young people, including Zumiez at Kitsap Mall.
“It’s a good cause and we’re not allowed to stand up for it,” she said. Teachers “tell us to stand up for something and then we get shot down for it.”
Indvik points out that her school allowed students to wear duct tape on their mouths in support of Day of Silence, and her mother, Victoria Burton — also quoted in the Sun — says kids at KSS get away with far worse. “There are other kids wearing really inappropriate T-shirts, students making out in the hallways,” Burton said. “It’s just funny that the school has picked that to ban. There are lots of other things they should be banning.”
The teen years are all about separating yourself from authority, so I think it’s far less distracting for school officials to just ignore this kind of thing if it’s not doing any real harm. But the “I (Heart) Boobies” bracelets are part of a bigger issue surrounding breast cancer awareness.
The Kitsap Sun says that it’s not just the world “boobies” that has them up in arms, but that cancer survivors at KSS were offended by the bracelets, too. And it makes me wonder: Breast cancer marketers are getting increasingly low brow and focusing more on the body part than the disease. Were these girls really concerned about breast cancer? Or did they just like the attention-getting idea of wearing the word “boobies” to school? And when it comes to freedom of speech in schools, does motivation matter?
Either way, principal Ryan Stevens says the bracelets must go. Do you think these kids crossed the line or is he overreacting?