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Small Bracelet, Big Trouble

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My FOX Orlando: It was designed for spreading awareness and worn for honoring relatives. But it also caused a huge controversy at one school.

breast cancer bracelet
The bracelet in question only cost Frankie Rodriguez $4 and change, but at school, it cost him even more.

"I told them I wasn't going to hand the bracelet over, and they just went overboard," Frankie said.

For about a month, Frankie had proudly displayed the white bracelet around his wrist. There wasn't much to it, at least not until one of his teachers spotted it.

"They just took it as sexual and it wasn't anything like that at all," he insisted.

The bracelet reads simply, "I ♥ boobies" and "Keep A Breast."

Frankie says he wears it to support family members who once suffered from breast cancer; the bracelets are marketed by the "Keep A Breast" Foundation, a non-profit cancer awareness group. To school administrators at Tomlin Middle School in Plant City, it was a huge distraction.

Frankie's mom Angie sees it much differently.

"We have a lot of family members that have survived breast cancer and other sorts of cancer and it's really important to our family, " she explained.

Last Friday, school officials took the bracelet and later returned it. On Monday, Frankie wore it again, but this time had turned it inside out to avoid trouble. It didn't work.

Administrators demanded the bracelet, but Frankie refused to turn it over. Thats when the 14-year-old found himself facing school suspension, according to school spokesperson Linda Cobbe.

"The student was disciplined for being disrespectful and inappropriate behavior because he was disrespectful to the teacher and school resource officer. It was not about the bracelet itself," said Cobbe.

Due to the tussle over the bracelet, Frankie has decided to keep his personal causes close to heart, instead of his wrist.

"I kinda just don't want to get in any more trouble, " Frankie added.

School officials reminded all students that under the current dress code, the bracelets are not appropriate to wear at school.

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9 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anna April 2, 2010, 11:59 AM

My son wears one of those bracelets to school all the time. Luckily at his school they realize it’s for a cause and don’t take it the wrong way.

Wendi April 2, 2010, 7:11 PM

That is messed up. It is so awsome that he is speaking out for what he believes in and what is close to his heart. I think the school is in the wrong on this. shame on them!

Anonymous April 2, 2010, 9:31 PM

come on! do you people realy think its ok for kids to walk around with “i love boobies” on their wrist? yes its for a good cause but isnt there a better way of dispaying support on a kid. And people wonder why our kids are so morally difunctional.

Wendi April 2, 2010, 11:51 PM

My child is not morally dysfunctional at all. In fact he has very good morals. I think that for you to take it any other way then for the way it was intended, then you have issues.

JoshS April 3, 2010, 7:04 PM

When will school administrators stop taking everything personally. They are the adults here. Once they learned why the student was wearing it, it should have been over with.

There is so much other things going on in the school system to worry about trivial matters like this. If any teacher tried this with a kid of mine, they better be ready to go all out. I can’t stand stupidity like this.

Anonymous April 3, 2010, 7:11 PM

So because he didnt agree with his teachers he is considered to be “disrespectful”?? It saddens me to hear that kids are being told by teachers not to stand up for what they believe in. Just because teachers are authority and have certain beliefs does not mean that kids thoughts and ideas arent right when they dont coincide with these people.

Phil E. Drifter April 3, 2010, 7:12 PM

I love boobies too.

Femminem April 3, 2010, 7:25 PM

“So because he didnt agree with his teachers he is considered to be ‘disrespectful’??”

We don’t know the whole story. For all we know, he could’ve been calling the teachers/admins names and using profanity, much like the other brats his age.

I understand a middle school being afraid of the bracelet causing a stir, because the term may offend someone else. However, they shouldn’t have reacted to the boy wearing the bracelet inside-out, because it is within his First Amendment rights to wear the bracelet in this manner — the words can’t offend someone if they can’t see them.

Grrrr April 3, 2010, 7:28 PM

the thing is that bracelet is intentionally offensive for the sole purpose of being offensive, i dont care what cause it was for, that isnt justification for wearing that. (in my opinion he should be able to wear that even if it wasent for a cause, but for the stupid system we have now in most schools sucks.)
and shame on you parents for letting your kids go to school with that on, it is just asking for trouble.

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