Tweets

Colorado Rights Blog

Videos

  • Anthony Martinez is 84-years-old and suffering from renal failure, as well as other serious medical conditions including dementia. He is currently incarcerated in the Sterling Correctional Facility, site of one of Colorado’s largest COVID-19 outbreaks with almost 600 active COVID-19 cases. He and his family are understandably terrified that he will catch the virus and die.

    In the midst of this public health crisis, incarcerated people as vulnerable as Anthony, could and should be immediately released to safely live out their remaining years with family.

    Read more about Anthony Martinez and other at-risk incarcerated people. 

  • Ronald Johnson is pre-diabetic, suffers from asthma and high blood pressure, and regularly uses an inhaler to breathe. His age and respiratory ailments put him at risk of serious illness and death if he contracts COVID-19. With over hundreds of active cases in Colorado’s prisons, his family fears he will not make it out alive. His daughter, Amber, says, “In prison, he can’t protect himself and he can’t social distance. My deep fear is that my dad will die in prison. That is an awful, traumatic reality to consider. My chest is tight just thinking about how quickly it spreads and how vulnerable he is.”

    Governor Hickenlooper shortened his sentence following testimony from family, friends and correctional officers advocating for his early release. Yet, he is still eight years away from parole. While he remains in prison, COVID-19 continues to spread. Ronald’s three siblings, four children and four grandchildren are desperate for his release.

    Read more about Ronald Johnson and other at-risk incarcerated people.

  • Tuesday Olson knew her pregnancy was in trouble and tried to access hospital care as soon as possible. But there was a problem: she was in jail. This is her story.
  • It’s time to end the death penalty in Colorado. Family members who lost loved ones to murder speak out against an unjust and broken system.

Under ACLU Pressure, Moffat County School District Rescinds its Ban of Boobies Breast Cancer Awareness Bracelets

Yesterday, under pressure from the ACLU, the Moffat County School District made public – through a post on its website – that students will now be permitted to wear “I ♥ Boobies! Keep a Breast!” bracelets at school without fear of reprisal. This announcement comes in response to a letter sent by the ACLU of Colorado last week demanding that the Moffat County School District rescind its illegal ban of the bracelets.

ACLU staff attorney Rebecca Wallace said: “We commend the Moffat County School District for taking quick and decisive action to restore the constitutional rights of its students.” Over the past week, the ACLU has received complaints from students and their families who report that the bracelets have been illegally banned within several other Colorado school districts. “We hope that other school districts will take a cue from Moffat County,” Wallace said. “Silencing student speech is not only unconstitutional, it’s also bad policy. Schools are charged with teaching young people how to be active participants in vibrant democracy, not policing thought and expression, particularly on an issue of such great social and health importance as breast cancer.”

In the ACLU’s letter to school administrators sent last week, demanding that the Moffat County rescind the bracelet ban, the ACLU stated that the bracelets had caused no disruption in school, the school district banned them because some school administrators found the word “boobies” to be offensive. The ACLU’s letter says that the ban is a clear violation of students’ First Amendment right to free expression.

ACLU staff attorney Rebecca T. Wallace said: “Students, just like adults, are protected by the Constitution and have a right to express themselves, particularly when they are just silently and peacefully wearing bracelets to show their support for such an important cause.”

“I ♥ Boobies! Keep a Breast!” bracelets are distributed by the Keep-A-Breast Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help eradicate breast cancer by educating young people – in their own language – on methods of prevention, early detection, and support.

Jordan Harmon, a Moffat County Middle School student upon whom the ACLU’s letter focuses, purchased and wore her “I ♥ Boobies! Keep a Breast!” bracelets in support of a close family friend who has fiercely battled the disease. After purchasing the bracelet, Jordan was inspired to visit the Keep-A-Breast Foundation website and learn more about breast cancer. The school has forbidden Jordan, and other students, from wearing the bracelet.

“Jordan is a perfect example of the effectiveness of these bracelets in raising awareness about breast cancer among young people,” said Ms. Wallace. “Schools should be supporting such an innovative educational tool, rather than squelching students’ First Amendment expressions.”

Last month, at the request of ACLU lawyers, a federal court in Pennsylvania enjoined another school district’s ban of “I ♥ Boobies! Keep a Breast!” bracelets, finding that the bracelets did not significantly disrupt school activities, and that the word “boobies,” is not lewd, vulgar, or indecent in this cancer-fighting context.



Return to News