by Allison Burke, Daily Vidette Staff Writer
Baltic High School in South Dakota recently joined a number of other schools across the country in establishing a ban on cancer awareness bracelets bearing the slogan “I love boobies.”
“The bracelets have caused controversy in schools in states including California, Colorado, Idaho, Florida and Wisconsin. Some districts allow students to wear them inside-out, and others ban them,” Jeff Martin said in his Sept. 2 article in USA Today.
“I do think there are more proper ways to bring this plight to the attention of people, and I don’t think this is a proper way,” argues Baltic High School’s principal, Jim Aisenbrey in USA Today’s article.
Banning these cancer awareness bracelets caused quite a controversy. Some parties agree with Aisenbrey and believe there are more appropriate ways to support breast cancer awareness, while others believe that students should be able to show their support in any way possible and that the bracelet ban is taking authority one step too far.
“School administrators make difficult decisions all the time. Never are those decisions going to please all parties involved in a conflict,” Trevor Chapman, business teacher at Normal Community West High School, said.
“I would tend to agree with the school principal. There are several different types of bracelets that can be worn to support breast cancer awareness. I have seen other bracelets that are pink for example that would appear to be more school appropriate. Kids could wear t-shirts with the ribbons on them, walk or run in an event to raise awareness, hang posters in the school or start an awareness club at school,” Chapman said.
“Since the bracelet has what many think is an inappropriate word to wear in school on a bracelet or otherwise, I do not think it is too much to ask that students not wear that particular bracelet,” Chapman said.
Lynn Steffen, assistant director of the Teacher Education Center at ISU, disagrees with the bracelet ban.
“Having taught high school students, sometimes you need to catch people’s eye. I guess it brings attention to what the actual issue is that’s out there. After the initial humor of the language, I think it would die down,” she said.
“You have to ask, ‘Is it a distraction to the educational process?’ I don’t think so,” Steffen said.
Students are also split on the issue, some feel that the wording does not validly represent a breast cancer survivor.
“Both of my grandmothers suffered from breast cancer, and I think having an almost joking statement on a cancer awareness bracelet draws away from what the bracelet represents. I personally think the statement is derogatory, to be honest. Women go through a lot when fighting breast cancer and they should get the respect they deserve… their condition shouldn’t be mocked by silly teens,” Katelyn Bugajski, freshman special education major, said.
Others feel that they are getting attention, which seems to be the point.
“I think the bracelets are a great idea since they have obviously brought up a new way to grab people’s attention. Now there are a ton of new people who are helping support breast cancer by buying and wearing the bracelets. They shouldn’t be looked at in a negative way,” Hilary Belling, sophomore Spanish major said.
“The bracelet is doing what it’s meant to do… it’s making people talk,” Shaney Jo Darden, Executive Director and co-founder of Keep A Breast Foundation, said when she defended the slogan in a Sept. 1 ABC News article.
The bracelets are sponsored by Keep a Breast Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports breast cancer awareness. Keep a Breast prides itself on creating unique and creative pieces of artwork to promote breast cancer awareness in a new light. The plastic bracelets are one inch thick and come in multiple colors; there are t-shirts that bear the slogan as well.