You know high school football season has begun when we get the first story about a school district suddenly deciding that the cheerleader’s uniforms, usually worn on game days, violate the dress code.
It happens every year about this time, the parents make a stink, the girls cry and eventually the administators back down.
In a perfect world, every father would think his daughter is beautiful. David Fraser agrees. “Yeah, but she’s actually beautiful,” he says of his own daughter, 15-year-old Jeana. “I mean, she looks like a cheerleader.” Jeana is a cheerleader. A sophomore, she wears her uniform to Countryside High School on game days along with the rest of the squad. Or she did until Friday, when the school decided its own uniform was against the dress code. Several Pinellas County schools are restricting or banning their own cheerleading uniforms during classroom hours amid a broader crackdown on the student dress code. In past years, administrators turned a blind eye during football season to the cheerleaders’ sleeveless uniforms with short skirts.
But this year, as Pinellas high schools adopt stricter dress codes or simply step up enforcement, the uniforms aren’t flying during the school day. Not all parents are pleased. “If it’s an approved school uniform — which it was approved, by the administration, years ago — why is it out of dress code?” asked Christine Johnson, whose daughter is a junior on Countryside’s varsity squad. “And why can they wear it in front of thousands of people at a football field if they can’t wear it on game day at school?”
Fraser said his daughter was upset to learn that her uniform was “suddenly too vulgar.” “She takes it very seriously,” he said. “She likes the uniform. She’s proud to be a cheerleader.”