Free speech and testicles

A new cartoon, and a new character. Well, new for my IDS readers. Meet Lily! She’s been around since pretty much the beginning of Ralph and Chuck. She’s very smart and often the voice of reason in Ralph and Chuck’s social circle, although she tends to overwork herself. Ralph also likes to bounce ideas off of her, as he does in this cartoon.

The “I love boobies” controversy is apparently happening in several places around the country. Most people seem to be taking Lily’s argument that the meaning behind the message and the students’ right to free speech trumps the administrations’ efforts to keep things “school appropriate.” I don’t share Lily’s opinion on this one as far as public schools are concerned. The administration has a right to determine dress that is appropriate for the school day, and in most cases these bracelets violated existing dress codes.

As far as the prudence of the actual bracelets go, there are many other ways to show your support for breast cancer research rather than displaying something as crude as “I love boobies.” A pink breast cancer wristband would have accomplished the same purpose. “I love boobies” isn’t an innocent phrase in support of breast cancer research- it’s an attempt to tie sex to breast cancer for the purpose of humor. That might be fine under normal circumstances, but not in school.  It’s an issue of being appropriate and respectful in a public school environment. By not complying with the administrations wishes and wearing a substitute, the students wearing the bracelets are being childish and disrespectful. It is not an unreasonable request.

What do you think? How risque does something have to be before it’s too inappropriate for school? Does the meaning behind the surface of the message hold sway in deciding what is “school appropriate?” Let me know in the comments!


5 thoughts on “Free speech and testicles

  1. I teach 5th and 6th graders. They are 10-11- and 12 years. Twelve year old boys are basically hormones in a vessel that looks like a boy. They’ve got ’em but have no idea what to do with them. So when I see one of these guys wearing a bracelet (and they come in all colors) that says “Boobies” in one inch letters, I will ask him to take it off and when I see him with it again, I will take it up and tell him he can have it back when a parent comes to school to get it. I have three in my desk right now. Amazingly, no one’s parent has come to get them. I had to take them up to discover that they were in support of breast cancer research. Those letters are much smaller. I appreciate that you understand a teacher’s position. It’s not that I don’t support the cause. My mother died of breast cancer at the age of 60 after a ten year battle. Wear them shopping, wear them to the park, wear them to church (gotta feeling that won’t fly) but don’t wear them among a bunch of prepubescent girls and tell me you are wearing them because you support cancer research. (BTW, I’ve yet to see a little girl wearing one…)

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