Cheerleaders at Gilbert High School in Gilbert, Ariz., can’t wear the pink t-shirts they bought to raise money for breast cancer research because the school’s administrators claim the slogan they bear is inappropriate.
According to a Thursday report in the Arizona Republic, the squad’s shirts say “Feel for lumps, save your bumps,” and the team planned to wear them during the school’s football games during their cheers on the field and while collecting money from the crowd.
Gaylee Skowronek, the cheer booster club president, told the Arizona Republic the administration approved the squad’s plan to raise money, but the school’s principal, J. Charles Santa Cruz, objected to the slogan on the shirts and banned the cheerleaders from wearing them.
“We thought the shirt was age-appropriate,” Skowronek said. “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.”
“All we want to do is support the cause and raise money for breast-cancer research,” said Ashlee, 16, a member of the squad.
This is not the first time breast cancer awareness campaigns have caused a stir for edgy messages. The Keep a Breast Foundation makes bracelets and t-shirts that say “I [heart] Boobies” and distributes them to young people with the goal of raising their breast cancer awareness. The bracelets have been banned by several school districts across the U.S., but in April, a federal judge in Pennsylvania upheld public school students’ rights to wear them.
Other breast cancer organizations are more cautious when it comes to supporting campaigns with these kinds of messages.
“While Komen for the Cure tends to stick with more mainstream language about breasts, we do understand that young people talk differently than adults,” said Andrea Rader, the director of marketing communications of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a network of breast cancer survivors and activists based in Dallas. “We generally support efforts to educate and engage young people, especially young women, about this disease.”