Rubber bracelets promoting breast cancer-awareness are being banned in schools across the country. Why? Printed on the bracelets is “I love boobies.”
Wristbands of varying colors are popular ways to support causes and charities, and many teens wear several of them. But school principals in at least five states, including Florida, California, South Dakota, Colorado and Wisconsin have either banned these bracelets entirely, or forced students to turn them inside-out during school time.
“When we had an assembly the first day of school, I basically told the students we were not insensitive to the cause,” Jim Aisenbrey, principal of Baltic High School in South Dakota, told USA Today. “I think everyone in the gym, including myself, has had a family member or relative or friend who has dealt with this issue. I do think there are more proper ways to bring this plight to the attention of people, and I don’t think this is a proper way.”
Not surprisingly, Shaney Jo Darden, founder and executive director of Keep A Breast Foundation, the California-based not-for-profit group that created the $4 wristbands, disagrees. “That’s the whole idea, it’s getting people to talk about breast cancer, it’s getting people to share their feelings about how this disease has impacted their life,”says Darden. “The bracelet is doing what it’s meant to do – it’s making people talk.”
The Keep A Breast Foundation says its mission is to “help eradicate breast cancer by exposing young people to methods of prevention, early detection and support.” Its website declares that breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in young women under the age of 40, but that despite these facts, many women mistakenly believe that breast cancer is only a problem for women over 40 years old. Hence, the need to educate. That sounds wonderful to me.
All schools have some kind of dress code. Students need to wear appropriate clothing; in general, clothing that offends others or interferes with the educational process is considered inappropriate. T-shirts carrying messages related to smoking, drugs and alcohol fall into this category, as does gang-related attire, and anything that is considered sexually suggestive.
The school where I currently teach requires the following: “Inappropriate dress includes any clothing, hairstyle, make-up, tattoos or an accessory that calls negative attention to the student. The only body piercing allowed is a small post or stud in the nose or pierced earrings. Clothing that is indecent or suggestive, or that endorses alcohol or drugs, is inappropriate and unacceptable.”
Many schools today are wrestling with huge issues like cyberbullying that can lead to suicide, anorexia that might put a child in hospital, and drastic fund slashing that is resulting in cutbacks and overcrowding, and yet they worry about a bracelet?
Really, how much of a problem can these wristbands be? It’s just a bracelet. It’s true that it says, “I love boobies,” but it’s for breast cancer. Yes, they’ll be some giggles, but really, isn’t that worth it for the long-term effect of getting people more aware of breast cancer? Somebody will always be offended but please, school administrators, get your priorities straight.
Creative Commons - Philip Nelson
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