A Tampa high school cheerleading team won’t be allowed to wear pink uniforms for Breast Cancer Awareness month, according to a Hillsborough County Schools spokesperson.
In 2014, Tampa Bay Tech raised money to buy pink uniforms for their 18-person squad and wore them during their October football games, Fox 13 reported. The uniforms cost each team member about $100.
“Both of our aunts had breast cancer and they're breast cancer survivors,” cheerleader Kelly Warren told Fox 13, referring to herself and another teammate. “It's a personal basis for us. We even had a guidance counselor at Tech who had breast cancer that she overcame.
"It's more of -- we're trying to show them that we support them.”
However, Hillsborough County Schools spokesperson Tanya Arja said the Tampa Bay Tech cheerleading squad will not be allowed to wear the pink uniforms this year, citing district policy.
The school district sent out a letter reminding all teams that they must wear their district-issued uniforms unless they get special approval to wear alternative ones.
“We want to make sure that all of our schools have the same playing field, and so if there are any uniforms out there that a school might want or a team might want, we just ask them to go through the approval process,” Arja said on Oct. 14, adding that the pink uniforms the team purchased last year were never approved.
“We encourage our schools to accessorize, so if you have pink shoes, pink socks, pink headbands, pink bows, pink wristbands, gloves -- that's how we encourage our students to actually go out there and support and be out there for Breast Cancer Awareness Month," she added.
Arja said the uniform policy is in place to keep things fair. The school district does not want upscale communities to be able to wear high-end uniforms that other schools and families can’t afford.
With two homes games left in October, some parents are hoping the school district will have a change of heart.
“The girls worked very hard to get these uniforms and I'd like to see them wear them,” Ben Smith, a parent, told 10 News. “We have two Friday home games left and I'd like to see them wear them.
“My sister is a breast cancer survivor so I take it personally and I'm sure my daughter feels the same way.”