A federal judge has weighed in on a little rubber bracelet with a message about breast cancer awareness that stirred up a lot of controversy here in San Diego.
“I Heart Boobies” bracelets are sold across the nation and have been banned in many U.S schools, including Oceanside High School, Valley Middle School in Carlsbad and Mountain Empire High School in East County.
U.S. District Judge Mary McLaughlin sided with students Tuesday in a free-speech test case filed in Pennsylvania by the American Civil Liberties Union. She issued a temporary injunction that bars the Easton Area School District from enforcing its ban.
School officials argue the slogan suggests a sexual double meaning and leads to in-school distractions.
McLaughlin agreed with students and said the bracelets are being worn to promote breast cancer awareness.
The creator of the bracelets says it's about speaking to young people in their own language.
"The word 'boobies' is just a word that young people use, it's a word that moms say to babies," said Kimmy McAtee of Keep A Breast Foundation, the organization that makes the bracelets.
The bands retail for about $4. 100 percent of the funds raised go to breast cancer education, awareness and support programs.
A few weeks ago, a student at Mountain Empire High School wore a bracelet to school. School administrators say the bracelet led to a "big" disruption in class and that's why it was banned.
"If it's creating a disruption in class, obviously we have to do something about that," said superintendent Steve Van Zant.
Campo resident Marcus Nicholson graduated from Mountain Empire High last year and says he wore the bracelet all year without any incidents.
"I wear it because my mom had cancer and she survived and I wear it for everybody who has cancer and for research and all that," Nicholson said.
His mother has been cancer free for ten years and says if the word "boobies" encourages kids to care about breast cancer awareness, then there is no harm in it.
"I'm for them wearing those bracelets, I have no problem with it at all," said Leticia Nicholson.