An Indiana eighth grader sued his school district in federal court Monday for the right to wear a bracelet promoting breast cancer awareness with the message "I (heart) Boobies."
The lawsuit says the boy's mother bought the bracelet for him in support of the Carol M. Baldwin Cancer Research Fund, named after actor Alec Baldwin's mother, a cancer survivor. He wore the bracelet to Roosevelt Middle School for two days without causing a disruption. On Jan. 6, the vice principal spotted it and ordered the boy to turn it inside out because it was violating the school's dress code.
The boy's father, Jeremy Glander of Monticello, spoke to the superintendent of the Twin Lakes School Corp., who said the boy could not wear the bracelet with the message exposed. The ACLU of Indiana filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Lafayette on behalf of Glander, saying his son, identified as L.G., has a First Amendment right to wear the bracelet.
Superintendent Tom Fletcher did not immediately return a phone message left Monday by The Associated Press.
ACLU attorney Ken Falk said the boy has not worn the bracelet to school since being warned he could face discipline if he did. The lawsuit contends the bracelet does not violate the school's dress code, which specifies that "Students should not engage in speech or conduct, including clothing, jewelry, or hairstyle, which is profane, indecent, lewd, vulgar, or offensive to school purposes."
The lawsuit contends the bracelet is not indecent, lewd, vulgar, offensive to school purposes or obscene and it not disruptive of an educational environment.
"It is designed to assist in the fight against breast cancer," the lawsuit says.
A federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled last year that the bracelets were not lewd or vulgar and couldn't be banned by public school officials who found them offensive. That decision is being appealed.
The Indiana lawsuit also contends the boy knows "many other students" at the school who wore the bracelets without disruption and that he has older siblings at Twin Lakes High School and students there have worn the bracelets without being told to remove them.
The lawsuit says the boy wants to wear the bracelet to be an advocate for breast cancer awareness and prevention.
"L.G. believes that breast cancer can strike anyone, including his sister and mother, and that it is important to show support for the fight against breast cancer," the lawsuit says.