According to the Associated Press (AP) reported in The Washington Post, the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (DE, NJ, PA, VI) will weigh an eastern Pennsylvania school district’s efforts to ban breast-cancer fundraising bracelets that say “I ♥ boobies!”
A Third Circuit three-judge panel has been considering the case since April 2012. Legal filings now indicate the entire 14-judge court in Philadelphia will hear it. Two Easton Area Middle School students say their freedom of speech rights were violated when they were suspended for wearing the bracelets in 2010. District officials say the word is vulgar.
A federal judge ruled for the students last year. The district appealed to the three-judge panel.
Attorneys for both sides say the panel’s draft opinion must have created enough disagreement to spur the full court to hear the case. No date has been set.
Source: The Washington Post, 8/17/12, By the AP
[Editor's Note: Over the past 18 months, Legal Clips has been reporting on the "I ♥ boobies" bracelets issue that districts across the country have been wrestling with, such as Pennsylvania, Indiana (May 2012, February 2012), and Wisconsin (March 2012, February 2012, September 2011).
With respect to the Pennsylvania case, in April 2012, Legal Clips summarized an article in The Morning Call, which reported that attorney John E. Freund, representing Easton Area School District, told a Third Circuit three-judge panel during oral argument that school officials and not a federal judge are in the best position to decide whether slogans like "I ♥ boobies" should be banned in the classroom. Freund argued to the panel that by stripping Easton Area Middle School Principal Angela DiVietro of the ability to make that decision, a federal district judge "opened the school gate to a flood of sexual double entendres." For the history of this issue as reported in Legal Clips, see the April 2012, June 2011, April 2011, and February 2011 summaries.]