Wednesday, February 8, 2012

No “boobies” in Jr. High makes sense

I usually don’t have a problem with writing a commentary that mocks a small-town mentality for being ridiculously strict. Yet this is one occasion where I can’t help but side with the school officials of a rural Indiana community who have a problem with a student going around school with “boobies” wrapped around their wrists.

If they were a little bit older, I could see the argument being made by the parents of a student who is upset that she can’t wear her “I (heart) boobies” wristbands to school as a way of showing support for breast cancer research.

BUT THIS IS junior high school we’re talking about. 12- and 13-year-olds who really haven’t reached any level of maturity. The kind who likely would have thought Beavis and Butthead (He’s named “Butt,” heh, heh, heh) were cool, except that those characters are so old I doubt that current pre-teens have a clue who they are.

I know that if a kid had showed up at school when I was in Junior High with such a wristband, it would have created a distraction. And based on the fact that I have a nephew who is now in that age bracket (and another who is just barely older), I don’t have any sense that people have changed with the passage of time.

Not even in Monticello, Ind., where the Glander family is upset that their eighth-grade son can’t have “boobies” on his wrist.

While I realize that the marketing campaign using “boobies” is part of a serious attempt to make people aware of the problem of breast cancer and of the research that is trying to find a cure, I’d argue it is definitely a message meant for adults.

IT IS WHY I dispute the line of logic offered up in the lawsuit filed by the family that says the junior high student’s older siblings were allowed to wear identical bracelets to class at high school.

There is a big difference in maturity at that age level.

So do I think the American Civil Liberties Union (which filed the lawsuit in federal court for northern Indiana on behalf of the family) is a bit misguided in taking on this particular issue and trying to claim it is some sort of constitutional right for pre-teens to wear such wristbands? Yes.

In fact, I was always of the understanding that, legally, the amount of rights that minors had were limited. They have a right to be protected from physical abuse. But expression can be limited.

AND NOW, THIS issue is going to spread. We probably will wind up at the Supreme Court of the United States someday, on account of the fact that differing states have courts ruling in differing ways.

Such “boobies” wristbands can be banned by school officials in Wisconsin, although federal judges in Pennsylvania have ruled that “boobies” wristbands aren’t “vulgar” or “lewd” – and therefore cannot be prohibited on students as any part of a dress code.

Great minds such as those possessed by Clarence Thomas will ultimately have to resolve this issue!

So what should we think, in the interim?

DO I ACTUALLY sympathize with the officials at Roosevelt Middle School in Monticello, Ind., for realizing that some of their students aren’t mature enough to see this bracelet and its silly slang term for the serious issue at stake – and would merely use it as an excuse to mock (she’s got boobies, heh, heh, heh)?


And do I think that the real injustice in this whole affair is that a U.S. District judge in Lafayette, Ind., had to waste time this week in contemplating an order that says the school officials can continue to ban the boobie bracelet while the lawsuit at-large is still pending?

Heck, yeah!!!!!


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