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CLEARWATER, Florida (WFLA) – As part of game day tradition, cheerleaders at Countryside High School have worn their cheering uniforms to class.
Cheerleader Jeana Fraser said she was surprised when school administrators said the traditional short skirts and sleeveless tops don’t conform with the school dress code.
“Countryside doesn’t have a lot of school spirit and we’re trying to push school spirit and a uniform helps that. It’s game day on Friday and it’s a uniform,” said Fraser.
Her mother, Norma Fraser, who was also once a high school cheerleader, supports her daughter wearing the uniform to school.
“My first thought is, it’s almost un-American,” said Norma Fraser. “It’s been around forever and since it’s a school issued uniform, since it was approved at that time, it should be approved for now.”
The cheerleader uniforms are in the spotlight as more high schools in the Pinellas County School District are modifying and enforcing the dress code.
According to the 2012-2013 student code of conduct, a skirt must be mid-thigh or longer. All tops must “have sleeves and cover the shoulders”.
A Pinellas District spokesperson said as long as it meets district requirements, each school can implement its own policy.
Down the road at Clearwater High School, cheerleaders haven’t been allowed to wear their cheering uniforms in class for years, according to Athletic Director Kathy Biddle. On game days, the cheerleaders wear approved school spirit T-shirts with jeans or black pants.
“They wear the big bow in their hair, and cheer shoes, so it is noticeable and I don’t feel they feel slighted in any way. They’re used to it now so it’s nothing really new to them,” said Biddle.
Jeana Fraser isn’t sure what the cheerleaders will be allowed to wear this Friday, the next game day. One proposal is to put a Velcro attachment on the skirts to lengthen them, another is to buy the cheerleaders sweat pants.