These breast cancer awareness bracelets have caused some concern for Quispamsis Elementary School. (keepabreast.org)

A bracelet advocating awareness about breast cancer has sparked controversy in the Kennebecasis Valley, just outside Saint John.

The bracelets read "I heart boobies" and are part of a prevention and early detection campaign by the international non-profit group, Keep A Breast Foundation.

Administrators at Quispamsis Elementary School are asking parents to not send their children to school with the bracelets, because they say the language is distracting for students.

Meaghan McIllwraith, the mother of a Grade 2 student, is against that decision. She said the popular bracelets are helping to get the attention of young people.

'I don't think it's anything to be ashamed of, or it's wrong.' —Parent Meaghan McIllwraith

"It’s a shock factor," said McIllwraith. "It's getting the kids talking and it's, I guess, a controversy.

"It’s a positive message … I don't think it's anything to be ashamed of, or it's wrong. I teach (my seven-year-old daughter) it's a part of her body and that's what it is," she said.

Quispamsis Elementary principal Janet Miller said while students are paying attention to the bracelets, many don't understand their reference to breast cancer awareness.

Miller contends the slang type message doesn't completely explain the bracelet's intent for breast cancer awareness.

She said the pink ribbon rubber bracelets are just as effective in displaying support for the cause, without distracting students from classroom learning.

The principal said there was never a ban on the bracelets, but the school sent notices asking for parents' co-operation.

Miller said if a student shows up next week with one of the bracelets, teachers will ask students to put it away, like they would with any distracting clothing or accessory.

Meanwhile, McIllwraith hopes the decision will be overturned.

She said she has connection to the cause — relatives and close friends have had the disease and some of them have died as a result.

McIllwraith thinks the younger generation should learn more about breast cancer, so whatever message reaches them is a good one.