Thursday, November 4, 2010

Boobies on Trial: The EASD Strikes Again

Posted by: Noel Jones

In case you missed this story in all the election hubbub, Colin McEvoy's reports in his Express-Times article Monday, that the Easton Area School District has suspended three middle-school students for raising breast-cancer awareness. In addition to the suspensions they have been barred from attending the next big school dance! 

I (heart) Boobies! bracelets are part of a much larger art campaign funded by the Keep A Breast Foundation which started in a school to raise breast cancer awareness among students, teachers, staff and the community at large. It has had huge success around the country, and only in here in Easton, PA, do we have a school district so provincial, so backwards, as to punish students for doing something as great as helping to fight a terrible disease that plagues thousands of women and men in our country each year. Not only is the school district provincial and backwards, but stubborn in that once informed as to what a great thing the campaign is, they still didn't release the kids from their punishments, and now we the taxpayers will get to pay to fight a lawsuit by the ACLU on behalf of the students! I swear, the EASD is a lawsuit magnet--I would really love to get a total of the amount that taxpayers have had to shell out in terms of legal fees in the last five years.

According to McEvoy's article, "School district officials say the bracelets are inappropriate and distracting to the educational process." What?! If the WORD boobies is a distraction, then what must they think about all the REAL boobies floating around the school? What next? Will they divide the school into male and female sides, so everyone can concentrate? Our school district is notorious by this point for ridiculous statements, but this really takes the big boobie cake.

Please (BOOBIE) contact the school board (the EASD website is also (BOOBIE) linked on the right side bar of this page) and tell them (BOOBIE) to urge the administration (BOOBIE) to let these fine students go to the dance. While you're at it, feel free to tell them (BOOBIE) that there is nothing wrong with BOOBIES, BOOBIES ARE GREAT, and in fact these kids are trying to SAVE BOOBIES. Isn't that a level of civic engagement we want to encourage rather than punish in our youth?


tachitup said...

Let me state that I am particularly fond of boobies and whales. But, I think we need to hear from the administators on this. Let's have the whole story.
I think the teacher and the principal are dead wrong to give detention and other punishment for wearing the bracelet. BUT, the kid deserves detention for defying a direct order from the principal.
She should have complied with the order (albeit a silly one and she knew it) and should seek redress from parents, lawyers, whatever. We can not have students that insist they know best and defy orders (sorry, even when they are right).

noel jones said...

not a fan of civil disobedience, I'm guessing?

without civil disobedience women would not be able to vote today and there would have been no civil rights movement. is this really what we want to teach our children, that they must obey their authority figures like automatons even when their authority figures are clearly in the wrong?

and what of the girl's claim that it infringes on her freedom of speech?

tachitup said...

I ♥ boobies = civil rights movement? Oh dear, we may have a problem coming to terms on this one.
Imho, a 12(?) yr old should not be allowed to disobey a principal's order without at least discussing it with her parents. If, after discussion between principal and parents, the decision doesn't change then I will gladly contribute to the fund to buy bracelets for any student that wants one. But other avenues must be pursued before a 12 yr old is allowed to disobey (within reason..."close the door and take your clothes off" for instance.)
The civil rights movement and women's suffrage only happened after working within the system had failed.

Anonymous said...

This has nothing to do with civil disobedience.

It also has nothing to do with supporting any efforts at all in fighting breast cancer.

The kids are wearing the bracelets because of the word "boobies" appearing on the bracelet.

It's been announced at many schools, not just Easton, that you should not wear the bracelets.

Why do parents insist on allowing their children to break rules at the schools? Why are their precious children always right?

It's a rule, and in my opinion, a good one. Leave the bracelet at home, go to school and learn something. PLEASE!!

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Anonymous 2:44.

This isn’t about the breast cancer, or about civil disobedience. It’s about being able to giggle about wearing a bracelet that says “boobies”. If Precious Snowflake was given the choice of a bracelet that includes “boobies”, or one that simply says “Think Pink” or “Eradicate Breast Cancer” – which one do you think she will choose? I was 12 years old once – back in the Paleolithic era – and I would have grabbed the “boobies” bracelet without a second thought – or a second thought to the actual cause it represents. I’d be all about getting one over on “the Establishment”.

I have $10 that says if the girls *would* wear a simple pink bracelet (assuming that rubber bracelets of any kind are permitted by school rules), there wouldn’t be this brouhaha in the first place. Reasonable discourse and compromise would have stopped this before it even got started.
And notice the phrase “permitted by school rules”. I don’t know the policies of EASD, but if it precludes the wearing of such items, then too bad, so sad.

Yes, rules are meant to be challenged, but in an orderly, escalating fashion. I’m fairly certain that Gandhi, Rosa Parks and the Pankhurst sisters didn’t start out by being belligerent or combative – they didn’t put the cart before the horse.

If this were my daughter, I’d advise her to choose her battles, and choose her manner of combat carefully.

And get off my lawn, you miserable kids! (grin)

noel jones said...

i think the fact that kids are more attracted to wearing the bracelets with "boobies" on them is the point of the campaign--to grab kids attention and curiosity so that they learn about the issue and enthusiastically spread the knowledge.

i think it is seriously underestimated the sympathetic capacity for 12 year olds to say that they are ONLY wearing the bracelets because they say "boobies" and don't care about people in their lives who have been affected by the disease. i don't know anyone who doesn't know someone who has battled breast cancer. it is a virtual epidemic in our country.

and i'm surprised to hear that anyone is offended by the word "boobies" in this context. it's a rather cutesy word to me.

as for kids and authority, i think 12 year olds are capable of understanding the difference between being belligerent and risking punishment to fight a cause. we have to have faith in our youth and teach them these nuances if they're ever going to be independent thinkers and people of character capable of shaping our nation's future when it goes astray. and i think punishing kids who are raising cancer awareness is seriously going astray.

but the other arguments posted here present some fine lines for debate--what about freedom of speech, and how do we teach our children to stand up for there rights? when is civil disobedience a good thing? if they OBEYED authority it would not be civil DISOBEDIENCE which has brought our country women's suffrage and the civil rights movement, among other good battles well fought on behalf of Americans.

Anonymous said...

So in the case of prostate cancer...?

"I love (fill in the blank.)"

Would that be okay? Free speech...Women's lib. If you think those are the issues then you have to say yes its okay.

The fact is children have the right to be immature. And adults have the right to protect them. The word "love" and the word for any sexual body part in the same sentence is objectifying something that is part of a human being. The words on this bracelet can be found in many places in our culture as expressions of a fetish that is all too real and widely known to be a cause of pain to many women and young developing girls. No matter that wasnt the overt intention of the bracelet. It is the subliminal effect of it and the creators of the bracelet are perhaps insensitively exploiting that association. For example, to enhance awareness of the wrongness of war, would they create a bracelet that says "I love arms and legs?" No that kind of falls flat because arms and legs are not objectified in this culture and we know that it is a person not just limbs that are in danger.(Although you could say "I love legs" and that would be stimulating and distracting to many of us.)

noel jones said...

re: prostate cancer

how about "i love weenies"?

besides, i hope we're not equating boobies with weanies. boobies are not genitals.

please don't judge the people who started it without watching the video linked in this post--that's not fair. if you watch the video, you'll see that these are really inspired teachers who started this campaign--you'll also see how genuinely excited the students are to be involved in this art project to raise breast cancer awareness, which includes a project where they painted paper mache busts of women and in different themes.

Boo-Boo said...

Noel Said . . .

"only in here in Easton, PA, do we have a school district so provincial, so backwards, as to punish students for doing something as great as helping to fight a terrible disease that plagues thousands of women and men in our country each year."

Once again, Noel shows her relative ignorance on a subject she blogs. This is occurring all around the country, but most of the other school districts folded once the ACLU got involved.

The truth is that Noel Jones and her group of College Hill loser friends have such empty lives that they make it their hobby to badger the EASD school board and administration every chance they can.

Maybe Ms. Jones should use her boobies to attract a man (or woman as the case may be) to spend time with. GET A LIFE!

Julie Zando-Dennis said...

Everyone makes good points, except for Boo Boo 10:12 pm, who had to resort to a personal attack.

For the record, I'm a (Boobie) friend of Noel Jones, and while I may, or may not be a loser, I don't live on (boobie) College Hill (and neither does Noel).

noel jones said...

ah, Boo-Boo, you discovered both my secret identity AND my secret passion in one fell swoop. not only do i only pretend to live in the West Ward and run a West Ward based blog that focuses on issues large and small affecting the West Ward (while I secretly live on College Hill, with all my other neighbors who pretend to live in the West Ward), but because I had nothing else I'd rather be doing on a thursday night, I attended school board meetings during the budget crisis that ended in the administrators firing 72 teachers while raising taxes and giving themselves a raise. i can't help myself, it makes me tingle all over!

if you want to make personal attacks, at least have the guts to put your name on it. better yet--try not making personal attacks and actually contributing something intelligent to the conversation. or are you too distracted (boobies)? do you need to sit in the corner?

your only attempt at contributing a point was:

"This is occurring all around the country, but most of the other school districts folded once the ACLU got involved."

by "this" do you mean the breast cancer awareness program, or the suspension of students for wearing the bracelets?

from you statement it sounds like you agree that the kids are in the right, since the administrators back down once the ACLU lets them know that they are violating the civil rights of the students.

at least we can agree on something!

Dennis R. Lieb said...

The discourse on this topic is all over the map so let's get back to the facts. Disruption of the school day didn't seem to be an issue for students. It was a teacher who seemed determined to make it one by calling attention to what has to be a fairly innocuous bracelet. Letting this issue lie for the short period of time that breast cancer awareness is being promoted would have resulted in no disturbance at all.

I stood up for my rights in school and refused to obey orders when necessary - not because I was some radical troublemaker, but because I was raised with a sense of responsibility and the determination to do the right thing.

If I were a kid that understood the significance of the bracelet's message I'd refuse to take it off too. They may have the right to punish me under the rules - thats fine. I'd take it. But I wouldn't take off the bracelet. We'd see who would get tired first. How many detentions would they hand out before looking completely ridiculous? The school should have been smart enough to leave this one alone.

PS: Don't underestimate the student's ability to separate doing the right thing from just defying authority. I know I was already thinking that way in 4th grade...

Oh,and BooBoo - you an asshole. Stay out of the West Ward.


DBW said...

I agree with tachitup that the kids defied a school order...and I think that's why they were reprimanded. It doesn't matter if they had the word BOOBIES or the word PROSTATE GLANDS on their bracelets...a rule is a rule and some kids broke it.

With rules, one has a choice...either to abide by the rule, or to break the rule. Some of the kids made the choice to break the rule. Well...why, why would they deliberately BREAK a rule and risk detention? I'm not young anymore, but I used to be, and I think that the answer to that question is because they felt the rule was...wicked stupid, which it was/is.

However, I agree with Noel (and some of these kids) that this is utterly rediculous to find such a thing offensive or even distracting. What is distracting is creating hype around a bracelet that has the word BOOBIES on it..NOT the bracelet itself. If the admins are concerned about the kids being distracted by the bracelets, then the admins should exercise a little wisdom and keep their mouths shut on the issue...refrain from drawing attention to a potentially energizing, yet innocuous, object. Just let the kids wear them. Haven't admins learned by now? THEY created the distraction...NOT the bracelets.

And to answer Anonymous's concern about allowing the kids to just LEARN...well, this is an important lesson: sometimes when you stand up for your beliefs, you will be punished and this is the same lesson that is taught in their history it does share some similarities with the civil rights movement, albeit less important in this particular case. This is a coming of age action on the part of these kids...leave them alone. Just because the lesson is not taught by a designated teacher does not mean they are not learning a lesson. If you want to educate them to be socially responsible, then bring a Civics course back into the classroom. But these kids ARE learning something...that they are younger, less "distracted" by something as harmless as a word, and that their administrators are distracted by something so, the joke is on the administrators...and potentially the taxpayers, should this become a legal issue, as Noel pointed out.

These kids did nothing wrong...they just broke a stupid rule. They know that and will serve their sentences with pride and with the understanding that they were on the right side of the issue. Hopefully, they keep and cherish that lesson and continue to behave similarly throughout their lives...

DBW said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
noel jones said...

Thanks for posting, DBW--I deleted your second post because it was a duplicate of the first--sometimes blogspot does that--good points!

noel jones said...

A comment emailed to me from Marty Jones:

"Maybe if the Teachers and Administrators started wearing the Boobies bracelet, the kids wouldn't be so titillated by the thought of getting one over on the man. In fact, I think it would take all the fun out of it. Distracting to the education process? Maybe, but not so much as making a big stink about it. Every kid in school is going to be wearing that bracelet in open defiance of a stupid policy. I support them. Where do I get a bracelet?

If we outlaw the boobie bracelet, whats next ? Do we start calling footballs something else?(why do they call football players Jocks?) What about cockroaches? Sperm whales? Woodscrews? Pretty soon we'll be back to burning books."

carinne said...

Let me get this straight. For a while now rubber bracelets for good causes have been popular for many individuals, of many ages, for many different reasons, whether it is a 12 year old girl who wears one to honor an aunt that battled breast cancer or a 47 year old who wants to come across as compassionate and trendy.
Then “boobies” appears on one.
I assume a few “class clowns” giggle or joke about this quite possibly interrupting the classroom.
I would think this would happen in response:
The teacher sends that clown to the principal’s office, just as they would for all other behavior that disrupts the classroom such as untying a shoelace, snapping a bra strap, etc. Then the trouble maker is disciplined as the teacher and/ or principal sees fit.
I cannot believe anyone would respond with banning all bracelets on all students. That seems as silly as banning all shoelaces and bras. What does that teach the original group of students who misbehaved? Society should alter your environment so you have nothing distracting nearby or your behavior is not your fault and you cannot be held accountable? What does it teach the student who thought it was important to care about something whether the reason be personal or trendy? What does this say about the administration and all the parents who allowed such a silly rule to come to be?
The only individuals I see respect for are the 12 year old girls who know this is ridiculous.
I am getting a bracelet. Oh and one for Marty.