A certain little rubber bracelet with a message about breast cancer awareness has stirred up a lot of controversy.
Bracelets with the message, “I Heart Boobies” are sold all over the country and have been banned in schools across the nation – most recently, at Oceanside High School.
The bands retail for about $4 and are sold at Tilly's and some other nationwide stores with 100 percent of the funds raised go to breast cancer education, awareness and support programs.
School administrators and some parents say the word is distracting and offensive but the creator of the bracelets says it's about speaking to young people in their own language.
The bracelets are banned at Oceanside HS.
Steve Lombard, the director of Communications for the Oceanside School District cited Regulation 5132 which states, "Clothing and accessories must be free of writing, pictures, or any other insignia which are vulgar, profane, sexually explicit, suggestive or gang related."
Valley Middle School in Carlsbad has banned the bracelets, too.
“He says that there is a ban, but I don't think it's been clarified because some teachers won't really mind some teachers won't take yours away, but then some of them do, and some turn it into the office and you can get it after school. But there are teachers who just take it away and never give it back,” said Henry.
The bracelets are something that has just really taken off lately.
She says the message has been around for five years now. But now the bracelets are sold at major retailers. And word has spread.
“For us, it was just a natural way to communicate to people about really loving your body, loving your boobies, and we don't think of it as a bad word or a four-letter word, it's really meant to speak to young people in their own language,” said Darden.
Henry continues to wear her bracelets, although she admits sometimes she turns them inside out. “I have many, I have two on my wrist right now, and more over here,” she said.
The parent of a 13-year old male student at Valley Middle School said, “It'll just open up discussion. You know, whether it's a good thing or bad thing.”
Good or bad, the ban seems to have backfired.
“It was never a problem at all, but now that they're getting banned kids are upset about it, and it's therefore become a distraction,” said Henry.
“I think there's a lot of things that are distracting in schools, and I think if people were to see those bands a lot it would be, after the first few weeks it wouldn't be a big deal anymore. It would die down a little bit but there'd still be awareness about it,” she said.
“We're talking about love here, so it's meant to be a positive uplifting message that we really hope administrators will embrace,” said Darden.
This year alone, the foundation has given out $100,000 in research grants as well.