The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a northern Indiana middle school student who believed he would be expelled if he didn’t cover up his bracelet that said “I (heart) BOOBIES.”
L.G. goes to Roosevelt Middle school in Monticello, Ind. In early January, school officials told him to turn inside-out the silicone bracelet with the message on it, as well as the ribbon symbol for breast cancer awareness. Proceeds from the sale of the bracelets go to breast cancer research.
Other students have worn the bracelets without being told by school officials to remove them. L.G. was told by school personnel he would be punished – possibly expelled – if he wore the bracelet again. The student wore the bracelet as a way to instigate conversations about breast cancer.
“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,” said Ken Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana.
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, No. 4:12-CV-4, was filed Monday in the Northern District of Indiana, Lafayette Division.