Supreme Court Declines to Hear Boobies Case

By April 8, 2014April 29th, 2015News

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a school district’s appeal regarding the constitutionality of a prohibition on the cancer awareness “I ♥ Boobies” bracelets. The Easton Area School District in Pennsylvania appealed a Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision finding that the school district could not ban these bracelets under the First Amendment. B.H. et al v. Easton Area School District, 725 F.3d 293 (3d 2013). The Third Circuit, which does not govern Illinois, determined that a school district may only restrict political or social messages which are plainly lewd, notmessages which are merely “ambiguously” lewd. However, a judge in the Northern District of Indiana came to the opposite conclusion on the same bracelets, noting that school administrators should have the deference to determine whether student speech is lewd. J.A. v. Fort Wayne Cmty. Sch., 2013 WL 4479229 (N.D. Ind. 2013). The Supreme Court’s decision not to review the Third Circuit case means that Illinois school districts have no clear guidance on whether social or political messages which include “ambiguously” offensive or lewd language may properly be prohibited.