Student protest advocates Keep A Breast bracletsStudents at SHS may have noticed several other students, most of whom were girls, wearing homemade shirts on Monday, October 1. On the shirts were the words “Keep a Breast, Keep a Bracelet.” Some girls even wore a sign with the words “censored” around their chests.
By: Kate Bergum, The Spartan Spin
Students at SHS may have noticed several other students, most of whom were girls, wearing homemade shirts on Monday, October 1. On the shirts were the words “Keep a Breast, Keep a Bracelet.” Some girls even wore a sign with the words “censored” around their chests.
The girls wore these shirts and the signs to protest what they felt was a negative response toward the Keep A Breast bracelets, which are products of the Keep a Breast Foundation, an organization that tries to increase breast cancer awareness.
Senior Leah Lackner was largely involved in the beginning of this protest. According to Lackner, she wore a Keep A Breast bracelet to school. One day, she was approached by Assistant Principal Bill Punyko, who told her to remove the bracelet. When she refused, Punyko gave her a referral that stated that Lackner’s bracelet had inappropriately referenced the female anatomy.
Because of this incident, Lackner’s friend, senior Alisa St. George, said she felt compelled to act. She said she strongly believed in the Keep a Breast Foundation and did not view the Keep A Breast bracelets as being inappropriate.
“They’re not supposed to be a thing derogatory towards women,” St. George said.
To protest the removal of the bracelets, St. George suggested making T-shirts, and getting other students to wear them to school. Lackner said she felt like this would be a great idea. To get others involved in the protest, she sent a message via Facebook to other female students going to the high school inviting them to participate. Lackner, St. George, senior Megan Back and other seniors then got together to make T-Shirts and pink ribbons symbolic of breast cancer awareness for those who had expressed interest in the protest.
On Monday, October 4, the protesters handed out the finished shirts and ribbons in the trophy case area before school to those who had previously asked for them.
Throughout the day, Lackner said she was met with interesting responses towards the shirts.
“Everyone kept coming up to me and told me that they were supportive,” Lackner said.
St. George said she was surprised by the response they received from administration. Though they had purposely set up the protest in a way that they felt would not cause problems, they knew that there was a chance that the protest would not be approved.
“We didn’t want to compete with administration,” St. George said.
The students wearing the shirts were not asked to change into new clothes. No disciplinary actions were taken on the students, and no one was suspended, as St. George had feared might happen.
“It went better than expected,” St. George said.
St. George’s passionate feelings for the Keep A Breast bracelets come primarily from her aunt’s experiences. A few years ago, St. George’s aunt passed away from breast cancer.
St. George said she feels that perhaps if the Keep a Breast Foundation would have been around earlier, her aunt may have been able to survive.
“She meant a lot to me. To know a way she could still be alive gives me hope,” St. George said.
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