April 14, 2011 - “I ♥ Boobies!” breast cancer awareness bracelets have been banned in schools across the country including here in Oregon. In a suit brought by the ACLU on behalf of two students in Pennsylvania, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday that banning the students from wearing the bracelets would be in violation of the students’ right to free speech. Late last year, the ACLU of Oregon was contacted by a student at Milwaukie High School after he was told he couldn’t wear the bracelet on school grounds. Shortly after the ACLU contacted the school, the policy was reversed.
On the evening of September 26, 2010, Kevin Rueck, a junior at Milwaulkie High School, attended a home football game. While attempting to cross to the visiting team’s bleachers he was stopped by a Vice-Principal. During the ensuing conversation the school administrator noticed the “I ♥ Boobies” bracelet that Kevin was wearing and instructed him to take it off.
Kevin explained that the bracelet was part of a breast cancer awareness campaign and that it was important to him because his grandmother and other family members had struggled with cancer. Kevin was told to take it off or to turn the bracelet inside-out or the Vice-Principal would call police and have Kevin arrested. Kevin complied but believed that he should be allowed to wear the bracelet right-side-out so he called the ACLU of Oregon. Shortly after the incident at the football game, on October 12, 2010, the Principal of Milwaukie High School announced that the Keep-A-Breast Foundation bracelets had been banned from the school. The ACLU of Oregon contacted the school and ultimately they reversed their policy before we filed suit.
Cooperating Attorney: Jonathan Hoffman of Martin, Bischoff, Templeton, Langslet & Hoffman LLP.