WALDOBORO — Bracelets intended to raise breast cancer awareness are proving to be a distraction at Medomak Valley High School, where several students have been suspended.

The rubbery bracelets, which say “I (heart) boobies,” have triggered similar responses elsewhere across the country when students wear them in schools.

“They’re disruptive to the education process,” Medomak Valley High School Principal Harold Wilson said.

Harley Campbell, whose great-grandmother died of breast cancer, tells the Bangor Daily News that she was suspended for three days because she refused to remove her bracelet.

“It’s the right thing to do to fight for the right to support this big of a cause,” she said. “I know people who have died from (breast cancer). It’s not just people on TV saying they survived. We have teachers in school who are suffering from stage-four breast cancer.”

Students across the country have sued their school districts on free speech grounds. Earlier this year, a federal judge in Pennsylvania sided with two girls who sued after they were told not to wear the bracelets.

“Students who are choosing to advocate for breast cancer awareness should not be censored,” said Shenna Bellows, executive director of the Maine Civil Liberties Union.

At least one Maine parent is considering suing.

Lauri Naum is the parent of 17-year-old A.J. Naum, who is a senior who wears his bracelet every day. Every day, he’s told to take it off and threatened with punishment.

A.J. explained that his grandmother died from breast cancer and that a close friend is fighting breast cancer for a second time. “It means a lot to me that it means so much to him to do this,” said A.J.’s mother. “This was never an issue. The school is making it an issue.”