Breast cancer bracelets cause stir at middle school

January 31, 2010 5:51:07 PM PST
A breast cancer awareness bracelet is causing controversy at a Santa Clara middle school. Administrators say it is a good cause, but the message on the bracelets is distracting the students.

"This one, it starts out, it says, 'I love boobies,'" 13-year-old Sarah Garaci explained. "And then it says 'Keep a breast.'"

Garaci has not taken her bracelet off since she got it as a Christmas gift. But, soon she might have to.

"One of my other teachers, I asked her, 'What do you think of the bracelet?' She told me it was demeaning and offensive, and people were making fun of breast cancer," Garaci says.

For the students at Santa Clara Middle School, the bracelets have become something fun to collect. Both the boys and the girls wear them. They wear multiple bracelets on their arms and they even trade them.

But, Bucsher administrators say some boys were taking the message a little too seriously and harassing female students. So, school officials told students they could no longer wear the bracelets on campus.

School board member Andrew Ratermann said, "We would be fully supportive of the concept of wanting to do something about breast cancer. But, I think the makers of the bracelets chose intentionally to start a controversy because of the words they used."

"I completely support it," says Sarah's mom Karen Garaci. "I don't want my daughter to die of breast cancer."

A portion of the sales go to breast cancer awareness and with friends who have had breast cancer, it is a cause Sarah's mother supports so much that now, the whole family wears the bracelets.

"I got angry because that hit really close to home, considering my mom passed away from breast cancer," says family friend Ashley House.

"I thought it was a fun message and I thought it would get the awareness out in an easy way," Karen Garaci says. "Instead of saying, 'Look, breast cancer's going to kill you. Do your exams.' Here, I love boobies. Let's save them and make it approachable for her age group."

"I'm still going to wear the bracelet. It actually has a good cause to it. It has a good meaning," Sarah says.