“I ♥BOOBIES” Protected First Amendment Speech
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Indianapolis – A student wishing to express his support for breast cancer awareness will take on his school corporation in a lawsuit filed today by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana.
The minor child, “L.G.,” is a student at Roosevelt Middle School, which is part of the Twin Lakes School Corporation in Monticello, Ind. In early January, school officials instructed the student to turn inside-out a silicone bracelet that contains the message “I ♥ BOOBIES” as well as the ribbon symbol for breast cancer awareness, and at that time informed the student he could be expelled if he continued to wear the bracelet to school.
The student wore the “I Heart BOOBIES” bracelet to assist with breaking down the barriers that make it difficult for young people to talk about breast cancer. The bracelets help support the work of the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund. Carol Baldwin is the mother of the Baldwin brothers, generally known as Hollywood actors and activists. The bracelets are popular among students at Roosevelt Middle School, and have not disrupted the educational environment.
“Decades ago the Supreme Court stressed that students do not shed their First Amendment rights when they enter school buildings,” said Ken Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana, who is representing L.G.
“The bracelet did not disrupt the educational environment, and the speech here, designed to assist in the fight against breast cancer, is not profane, indecent, lewd, vulgar, or offensive to school purposes, and is therefore protected speech under the First Amendment,” added Falk.
The case, L.G., a minor child, by his father and next friend, Jeremy Glander, v. Twin Lakes School Corporation; Superintendent, Twin Lakes School Corporation was filed in the United States District Court Northern District of Indiana Lafayette Division under cause number 4:12-cv-00004-RLM-APR.
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