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Don't be a boob—let Kelowna kids have their bracelets

Boobies. There, I said it. In fact, it’s the word of choice whenever the topic comes up.

“Breasts” is far too serious sounding for something I’ve happily spent thousands of dollars dressing up over the years.

Other less dour sounding words that start with Ts, Js, and Kns, mind you, have been kept from my lexicon. Those  have a thuggish ring to them that spark memories of being an underwhelming—albeit toilet paper enhanced—teen  dealing with overwhelming teenage boys.

It’s a vocabulary choice I’ve mulled over for years, so it was with some surprise I learned a Kelowna school was kicking up a fuss about my default word for mammaries.

Springvalley Middle School last month banned Keep A Breast Canada wristbands. Emblazoned with the slogan, “I (love) Boobies,”  the rubber bracelets that were supposed to raise cancer awareness, instead raised the ire of officials and parents  who thought the language was inappropriate for teenagers.

“In a lot of cases with younger students the interest is not in the raising awareness around eradicating breast cancer, in actual fact it’s more of a novelty item and it has caused distraction,” School District 23 superintendent Hugh Gloster was quoted saying. “It has also been offensive in some environments.”

Not to be a boob myself, but has anyone seen or spoken with a teenager lately? If Mr. Gloster and his cohorts are  concerned about the boobie-word being a distraction to our future leaders, he must be going crazy about the real thing.

Revealing wardrobes have ensured that breasts are all but omnipresent in this city, and the hallowed halls of our school system offer no exception.

And one would be remiss to not point out the simple fact that the word “boobies” is far less offensive than what I hear spewing from the mouths of babes at the mall, on the street, or even in their schools when I’ve had occasion to go. So what is it about this campaign that’s causing such  a stir?

There are one of two options as far as I can see.

A) Student behaviour has fallen so far below the bar that teachers and administrators have no choice but to bring us back to 1950, for fear that we’re all catapulting toward hell in a failure-free handbasket.

Or B) These bracelets have done something to spark that delightfully strange streak of puritanism that still runs through Kelowna. Let’s just hope that boobie-bracelet banning doesn’t lead to a Footloose style ban on dancing, or a revisitation of prohibition.

Frankly, I’m crossing my fingers that option B is closer to the mark because that’s easier to rectify.

Just let the kids have their bracelets back, and use any errant behaviour that arises from them as an opportunity to speak about breast cancer and, better yet, why boobies, boobs, breasts etc. aren’t  cause to act like an idiot.

That could go a long way to diminishing the actual distraction which, let’s be honest, isn’t the bracelet.

Kathy Michaels is a reporter with the Kelowna Capital News.

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