Ariz. school objects to cheerleaders' breast-cancer shirts
By Hayley Ringle, The Arizona Republic
Updated 20h 36m agoBy Tom Tingle, The Arizona Republic
"Feel for lumps, save your bumps" T-shirts were purchased for Gilbert High School cheerleaders in Arizona to wear during a fundraiser for breast-cancer research. The school's principal says the message is inappropriate and has banned the shirts.
GILBERT, Ariz. -- The cheerleading squad at Gilbert High School has been told they cannot wear their pink T-shirts to raise money for breast cancer awareness during the school's football games because the administration finds the shirts display an objectionable slogan.
The shirts, which say "Gilbert cheer" on the front and "Feel for lumps, save your bumps" on the back, were bought for the 56 freshman, junior varsity and varsity cheerleaders for $470, said Gayleen Skowronek, the cheer booster-club president.
The girls planned to wear the shirt at Friday's football game and the next home football game as they cheered and then walk around to collect money from the crow
Varsity cheerleader Natalie Skowronek, Gayleen's daughter, said her squad should have the right to wear the shirt and doesn't think the saying is inappropriate.
"We're not saying anything a doctor wouldn't say," said Natalie, 17, a Gilbert High junior.
Gilbert High School Principal J. Charles Santa Cruz said he took exception to the slogan and the shirts were never approved by the administration. He told Gayleen Skowronek last Friday the shirts were not allowed.
"In no way is the school administration against Breast Cancer Awareness Month or initiatives students might take in support of it; we just want to make sure we're in the bounds of appropriate boundaries of a school setting," Santa Cruz said.
The cheerleaders said they wanted to wear a shirt during their fundraising to coincide with the pink tape, gloves, shoelaces and wrist bands the football players are wearing during October, known nationwide as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The football players are also wearing breast-cancer awareness stickers on their helmets.
Varsity cheerleader Ashlee Burnau said she thinks the administration is "blowing this out of proportion."
"All we want to do is support the cause and raise money for breast-cancer research," said Ashlee, 16, a junior.
Santa Cruz said the shirts could be worn if they were modified to remove or cover up the "Save your bumps" slogan. Or, he said, the cheerleaders could wear plain pink shirts with no slogans.
Gayleen Skowronek said the administration approved the fundraising, and she didn't think she needed to get the shirt approved as well, she said.
"We thought the shirt was age-appropriate," said Skowronek, who plans to wear the shirt to Friday's football game. "I think it's hypocritical they would approve a fundraiser for breast-cancer research but they won't approve a shirt to bring awareness to breast cancer."
The cheerleaders say their slogan pales in comparison to some of the other sayings allowed on other shirts and some of the attire allowed at football games. Some students wear sports bras and paint their stomachs to support the team.
Other students wear "I (heart) boobies" rubber bracelets in support of breast-cancer awareness. The items are sold by the Keep A Breast Foundation, a nonprofit organization, who said on their website their mission is to "help eradicate breast cancer by exposing young people to methods of prevention, early detection and support."
The "boobies" saying has caused a stir at many schools nationwide; they have banned the bracelets because administrators believe the language is inappropriate.
The girls also said they have seen Gilbert High choir shirts with the words, "I'd hit that," referring to a note. Santa Cruz said the shirts were worn last year and he advised the choir teacher the shirts were inappropriate and shouldn't be worn.
The cheerleaders also said they've seen Gilbert High American sign-language club shirts said, "I'm good with my hands." Another breast-cancer awareness shirt they've seen is "Save second base."
"What's the difference?" said Natalie, referring to their shirt. "This (the saying) isn't even sexual."
Beverly Kruse, executive director of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Phoenix affiliate, said she respects the principal's decision and only the principal can decide what he feels is in the best interest for students.
"I think it's wonderful that this group of kids is elevating awareness. That part I applaud," Kruse said. "Unfortunately, they're caught in this decision."http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/sto ... 50752830/1