Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Latest on the EASD Boobies Suit

Is this an obscene picture?

Posted by: Noël Jones

Peter Hall of The Morning Call reports that the case of the boobies bracelets involving two middle-school girls in Easton who were suspended last year for wearing breast cancer awareness bracelets at school is still being heard in state court. The bracelets read "I ♥ Boobies" and are part of a breast cancer awareness campaign started in a school in California, which has gained momentum nationwide. The money raised for the bracelets is used primarily for breast cancer awareness education, while some goes to medical research. The girls, represented by the ACLU, argue that their First Amendment rights to freedom of expression were violated and that they have a right to wear the bracelets for a good cause. The school district is arguing that use of the word "boobies" violates dress codes against clothing with vulgar, profane or double-entendre messages.

I still maintain that it is breasts themselves that are on trial here. The problem is that breasts are regarded as vulgar in our culture at all, and that this is an assessment based on how men view breasts, not how the majority of Americans (women) view breasts when men aren't around. It really bothers me that part of the rationale on the part of the school district is that the bracelets could cause boys to behave badly--as if that behavior is the responsibility of the girls, and not the boys. And if even the
word "boobies"--a cute and innocent word used between most women and girls nowadays to discuss everything from training bras, to breast cancer to breast feeding (I have friends that use this word with their small children)--how is that supposed to make girls feel about the actual breasts they carry around in the halls of school each day? Should they be made to feel that the very existence of their bodies causes bad behavior in boys? Or should boys be suspended if they behave badly?

I saw an old black and white movie classic the other day called Inherit the Wind, starring Spencer Tracy as an attorney fighting for the right of a school teacher who dared to teach Darwinism in his class. The film is based on a true story--the community was outraged, and thought it was a sin. The teacher felt the law against teaching the Theory of Evolution was an unjust law, and he fought it, risking punishment. In my mind, this is what these girls are doing--taking a stand against what they feel is an unjust law, or at least the unjust interpretation and enforcement of a law. Frankly, I feel proud of them, and I don't even know them. These youths are showing us that they are not just materialistic, video-game-addicted narcissists as many adults would like us to believe, but that they are young Americans ready to risk consequences to fight for what they believe is right. If we can still count on some independent thought and spirit in our youth, our civil liberties might not go completely down the toilet in the future--the adults in America are doing a great job of letting that happen right now, with the recent reinforcement of the Patriot Act, body scan machines at airport security, and our government's fresh assault in conjunction with the big communications corporations on Net Neutrality.

One more point--the Easton Area School District is once again wasting our tax money during a budget crisis on a lawsuit. Is maintaining such provincial rigidity worth it?

Feel free to disagree with me--for more background on this boobie bracelet issue, please see my earlier post, and post your comments here!


Tim Pickel said...

Is this picture obscene? Well, as a fifty-six year old man, no. But you can bet when I was thirteen, I would have loved it. Man I would have loved it.

Noel, you know where I stand on this case. It is not about breasts, breast cancer or teenage fantasies. It is about rules and how important they are in preventing anarchy.

There are a lot of things I have to do that I don't like, because there are rules. Yet, I do them because I respect authority and understand that such rules are put in place for a reason. If I don't like them, I don't break them and snub my nose at authority. Doing that would have consequences.

The parents of these girls are teaching them all the wrong lessons. They are also wasting my tax money for their fifteen minutes of fame.

noel jones said...

Thanks for posting, Tim. We'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

Anyone else?

David Caines said...

I'm unprepared to take a real position here as I simply don't know enough about the case.
I tend to agree with Tim in the whole, but I do agree that we have issues in this country with the feminine form. Breasts in particular , I'm desensitized as I watch mostly English Tv. and bare breasts are just part and parcel of the culture.
Sadly like most American laws / rules this is so vaguely worded as to be used in pretty much any situation for any cause.
I'm curious if anyone knows of this ruling being enforced against others and why?
I assume the rule exists to combat gang culture, has it been equally and effectively enforced?
These are my questions.
I can see jump board.
I agree completely that we need to come to terms with the left overs of Puritan beliefs regarding well...pretty much everything to include the shame of being a woman. I'm not sure this is the right fight though.
Convince me?

Bo Afflerbach said...


Correction. No money from these bracelets goes to medical research. In fact, according to court testimony, of the bracelets sold in retail stores for 3.95, $2.00 goes to the store, and a $1.95 goes to the Keep a Breast Foundation.

As for the district "wasting" money, I support them because you cannot back down every time someone cries lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

Not even close to obscene! In my opinion, it is a thoughtful reminder to check yourself, as well as a tastefully presented photo. As for rules, they are to govern those who cannot govern themselves.


tunsie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
William Testa said...

You CAN back down when the money is not yours to waste, especially when the issue could have been handled internally by the TEAM of administrators at that building. Instead, the district is spending taxpayers' money to send these administrators out of the district to testify for weeks. So at the same time, our money was wasted AND our children and teachers were left with out the support they needed at school.

Interested Citizen said...

William you really hit the nail on the head. It would be interesting to see how much the EASD spends on legal fees alone - I wonder if its possible to do a right to know for something like that? Because it does seem like they spend money unnecessarily on legal fees, among other things.

tunsie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Boogie said...

Dear William:

While you are at it, why don't you "right to know" what color the Superintendent's panties are!

If you think you can do better, apply for the job you dimwit!!!

noel jones said...

Observe that when people starting swinging to extremes and resorting to personal attacks is when their arguments are failing...

Boogie, do you have any valid points to add to the discussion? This is not a forum for personal attacks.

As for asking citizens to give up their right to be part of the democratic process (i.e., Sunshine Laws) and simply take a government job, well, that is the same tired old response that keeps coming back from the old guard around here. "We like our club the way it is--we shouldn't have to play by the rules. People should stop criticizing and join us."

Asking how much the district pays in legal fees each year is a perfectly legitimate Right-to-Know request from the people actually paying those bills. Any citizen can file a Right-to-Know request with the school district, or any other governmental body in the State of PA--here's how:

tachitup said...

When I read boogie's post, my first reaction was to respond calling him/her a feeble-minded, snarling, bad word. Then I read Noël's reasoned response and felt humbled. Thanks for keeping our baser instincts in check.
When the judge tells the ACLU to go pound sand, I want to see a full recovery of our legal expenses.

Tim Pickel said...

Boogie is wrong in his/her attack on William. Noel is right that personal attacks don't help discussions. Tachitup has a great point that if the lawsuit is denied, our legal expenses should be recovered.

What an interesting lesson that would be for those two young ladies who disregarded the rules of the school. Also for their parents (although their payback will come when their daughters run wild later in their teen years). Lets make them reimburse the school district for legal costs.

Think about it. They can work jobs after school (there will be rules at the job). They could babysit. They could even do some community service type work for the district. There are lessons to be learned all around.

Everflo said...


It is interesting that you forward one's right to free speech, even if it's offensive in a school setting, but you delete posts you find offensive on a stupid blog site.


Anonymous said...

Boo-Boo agrees with Everflo!!!!

noel jones said...

Everflo--the girls weren't making personal attacks on anyone. I delete commenters when instead of actually adding to a discussion by making strong points, they resort to name-calling and such.

Anyone who prefers that sort of bloggery is welcome to start their own blog, or hang out on the Express-Times commentary on line, where they seem to delete nothing, no matter how extreme or inane.

Here, readers actually take pride in making strong arguments, disagreeing civilly, posting links as back-up and otherwise sharing information between independent thinkers who agree on some subjects and disagree on others.

tachitup said...

Now that's an interesting concept...I'd love to see these princesses in a real-world job. How forgiving will the boss be when they refuse to abide by the rules? Will mommy and daddy and the ACLU go to bat for them?
These girls are not Rosa Parks wannabes; they're adolescent brats with their parents permission.