Note: Coast Law Group, LLP attorneys represent the Keep-A-Breast Foundation, and attorney Rory Wicks wrote the Amicus “Friend of the Court” brief on behalf of KAB in the case. Huge victory!

August 5, 2013
keep-a-breast.org

When Keep A Breast first created the “i love boobies!” bracelet we had no idea the controversy that it would stir up. When the first banning happened in schools we were left wondering: Why were many not focused on the fact that young people were finally talking about breast cancer and breast health?

 

Many of you stood up and became outspoken advocates for our cause. We applauded as you held school events to raise awareness and funds for KAB, and retweeted photos of loved ones battling breast cancer, our bracelets visible. Your emails and social media posts about why you wore your bracelets made us cry many times. You believed in us – and our messaging – and we can’t begin to express our appreciation.

 

Yet today we thank you again for standing up for us, for becoming the voice of Keep A Breast as we announce a groundbreaking legal decision. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has upheld an injunction preventing the Easton Area School District (EASD) from enforcing a ban on our bracelets. The decision today marks the first time a federal court of appeals has ruled that the First Amendment protects student speech that is plausibly understood as commenting on political or social issues.

 

“The bracelets are intended to be and they can reasonably be viewed as speech designed to raise awareness of breast cancer and to reduce stigma associated with openly discussing breast health.”

 

Stated in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Case 5:10-cv-06283-MAM

 

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed suit in November 2010 on behalf of Kayla Martinez and Brianna Hawk, then seventh and eighth graders, who were suspended for wearing Keep A Breast bracelets on Breast Cancer Awareness Day. “

 

The First Amendment protects schools as a space where students are free to discuss important issues like breast cancer and talk about their bodies in positive terms,” said Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “The court’s decision today is an important reminder to school administrators that they can’t punish students for speaking out just because their speech might be uncomfortable or misunderstood.”

 

We want to thank all of you who stood next to us and showed your support. Kayla Martinez and Brianna Hawk you will always be an amazing chapter in Keep A Breast’s story. We also want to thank Mary Catherine Roper and the staff at ACLU of Pennsylvania for taking this case on behalf of these girls. Finally, thank you to Gary Sirota and the rest of our legal counsel at Coast Law Group in Encinitas, California.

 

More information about the case, including copies of the lawsuit and today’s decision, is available at: http://www.aclupa.org/legal/legaldocket/bhandkmveastonareaschooldi.htm