Gilbert High principal bans cheerleaders' breast cancer shirts

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by Jennifer Thomas

Video report by Kristine Harrington

Posted on October 14, 2011 at 9:41 AM

Updated Friday, Oct 14 at 1:10 PM

Poll:
Should the cheerleaders be allowed to wear the breast cancer shirts during games?

GILBERT, Ariz. -- A T-shirt is causing controversy at Gilbert High School.

The school's cheerleading squad has been told they can't wear their pink T-shirts to raise money for breast cancer awareness during football games.

It's the shirt's slogan that's under fire.

The school principal said if the girls want to wear their shirts they need to put tape over the slogan.

He said the slogan on the back of the shirt, "Feel for lumps, save your bumps," is not appropriate.

"I don't see that there's a problem with them," Natalie Skowronek  said. "I'm told by my doctor to check for lumps."

That's the breast cancer awareness early detection message that the shirt sends.

"There were two home games in the month of October they were just going to wear them to cheer in," said Gayleen Skowronek, Natalie's mom and booster club president.

And with October being breast cancer awareness month the girls thought this was a good way to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

The problem is Gilbert High School administrators don't believe the statement is appropriate for the cheerleaders to wear.

"Obviously, there is nothing funny about any sort of cancer," Skowronek said. "I'm a cancer survivor myself so I take it very serious whether it be breast cancer or colon cancer, whatever kind of cancer. I personally don't see anything wrong with the shirts."

Natalie is especially disappointed because she says she often sees students wear T-shirts with sexual innuendos.

"Our choir has a shirt they wear that says 'I'd hit that' with musical notes, which is referring to a sexual comment," Natalie said. "Our American sign language group has a shirt that says we're good with our hands. That to me is more sexual than the shirts that what we're wearing. We're not even trying to do anything sexual."

Regardless, the principal has banned the cheerleaders from wearing these shirts.

In a statement he said: "The administration fully supports the fund-raising efforts of the Gilbert High School cheerleaders. It is unfortunate, however, that the issue has become more about the slogan than the fight against cancer."

Natalie said the squad will not risk suspension and will not wear the shirts Friday, but others will.

"We're trying to just get other people to wear them," Natalie said.

"I will be wearing my shirt on Friday along with my husband," Skowronek said.

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