After her daughter was told to cover up, this cheerleader’s mom wasn’t about to stand down.

When it comes to school rules, nothing seems to be more contentious than those surrounding the dress code.

For years, school dress codes have come under fire for being sexist and riddled with double standards, and yet, still not much has changed.

Now one mom is speaking out in defense of her daughter after she was told to “put pants on” when she wore her cheer uniform to school on game day.

What’s Good Enough for the School Basketball Court Isn’t Good Enough for the Classroom

Marianah is used to her fellow classmates seeing her in her cheerleading uniform. After all, as part of the varsity cheer squad at Pinconning High School in Michigan, she is on full display at all her school’s sporting events. Obviously, there’s no issue with it on the football field and the basketball court.

But when she showed up wearing it to school in advance of a basketball game later that day — as per her coach’s instruction — administrators cried foul and told her to cover up.

Her mom wasn’t having it.

When Amanda Alburg’s daughter told her what happened she was furious.

“If they can wear their uniforms that are issued by the school to games and it’s appropriate, then it should be appropriate for school also.”

Amanda Alburg

She immediately called the school office. According to Alburg, a staff member in the office defended the school’s position reiterating that cheerleaders are to wear pants under their uniforms at all times. “It is a distraction to the boys,” the person allegedly told the irate mom.

This time it was Alburg’s turn to call “Foul!”

“I don’t feel that should be a distraction to the boys. Girls have been wearing cheer uniforms issued by the school on game days to school since I was in high school. Never had to wear pants under it,” Alburg responded.

The Superintendent Responds & Parents Weigh In

Pinconning superintendent response to cheerleader uniform
TV5

In a written statement to TV5, superintendent Andy Kowalczyk wrote:

“Athletic uniforms may not meet school dress code requirements. This is the case for the length of the cheerleading skirts. PHS would not allow students from any sports team to wear uniforms to school that do not meet those requirements.”

He also told the news station that at no time was Alburg’s daughter directly told that wearing her uniform was a distraction to the male students.

The dress code became a hot topic of discussion at a school board meeting just days later. Many of the parents in attendance vehemently agreed with Alburg, saying the dress code wasn’t up to code.

“My daughter can’t wear a sports bra to practice because it’s inappropriate, but the gentlemen…I can be out at that soccer field or on the basketball court and football field and they have their shirts off. And that is a double standard and it’s a violation of our girls’ civil rights,” one Pinconning mother said.

She’s not wrong. What’s bad for the goose is perfectly fine for the gander. School dress codes would be fine if they applied the same standards equally to males and females. But they don’t.

And the parents aren’t the only ones who think the dress code needs a revamp. Some of the board members do too, including the president. But as with all things bureaucratic, it’s a PROCESS. And you can bet any changes to the policy will happen at a glacially slow pace.

“It’s this whole process. Sometimes we have to work with lawyers and that’s a process of its own. We got to work with the ISD. It’s not that we can just snap our fingers and go through it, but the board needs to do its due diligence,” school board trustee, Mark Coutcher said.

The Importance of Standing Up

It’s very possible that nothing will come out of this and the dress code will remain squarely in the middle ages.

But at the very least, Alburg knows that when she saw an injustice she didn’t just ignore it, she spoke up. And she taught her daughter a powerful lesson in advocating for herself and others.

And that? Is definitely worth cheering about.