Arizona’s Gilbert High School has told its cheerleaders that they can’t wear their pink t-shirts to raise money for breast cancer awareness to school football games, dubbing them “out of bounds” for what’s appropriate in a school setting. The girls say they just want to wear the shirts, which say “Gilbert Cheer” on the front and “Feel for lumps, save your bumps” on the back, to raise money for a good cause, and don’t consider them inappropriate. And frankly, we find it a lot more offensive to ban a discussion of women’s health from high schools than to use the word “bumps.”
“We’re not saying anything a doctor wouldn’t say,” said Natalie Skowronek, a 17-year-old junior and varsity cheerleader at Gilbert. But school officials have banned them from football games, where the cheerleading team planned to wear them and ask the crowd for donations, despite having approved the fundraising efforts. The school’s Principal, J. Charles Santa Cruz, told the cheer club:
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.
And Gilbert, Arizona isn’t the first place where officials have taken issue with talking about breast cancer in school. Several states have banned popular “I heart boobies” rubber bracelets, sold by the non-profit Keep A Breast Foundation whose mission is to raise awareness in young people, because administrators think the language is inappropriate.
Perhaps some parents feel differently, but I don’t think referring to breasts as “bumps” or “boobies” is especially explicit. And what kind of message are we sending teenagers by deciding that talking about women’s health in cutesy terms is somehow lewd and inappropriate?
Photo: Arizona Republic