Should cheerleaders’ skirts be shorter than school standard?

A principal in San Jose, Calif., is cracking down on her school’s cheerleading squad for their skirts being too short and not in line with the school’s rules.

Skirts and shorts at the school are supposed to be lower than mid-thigh, which is the pretty common standard. (You usually hear it has to reach the tip of the middle finger.)

From Yahoo Rivals:

“As first reported by the San Jose Mercury News, the move to make cheerleaders wear sweats under their uniforms was enforced so they could fall in line with a dress code that requires all skirts or shorts to stretch lower than mid-thigh. As you can see in the photo at right, the Piedmont cheerleaders’ custom-tailored uniforms come relatively close to achieving that benchmark, but (Principal Traci) Williams declared that they didn’t quite hit it, leading to the necessary adjustments.”

“Administrators feel that they have a valid reason for stepping up enforcement of the miniskirt ban. While standards in teen clothing in school can vary widely from state to state, Williams described the attire worn by many of the students at Piedmont as ranging from slightly inappropriate to nearly lewd….”

“This is really unfair to us,” Piedmont senior cheerleader Antonia Bavilacqua told the Mercury News. The skirts are still OK for games, just not during school. “We’re just sad and hurt. It’s our school colors and spirit. And they’re making us feel like outcasts.”

The cheerleaders’ custom-made uniforms cost about $300. Plus the cheerleader’s say it’s 95 degrees outside and the sweatpants under the skirts look dorky.

I think there are other more fashion-forward ways the principal could rectify this situation without the girls having to wear sweatpants. First off, don’t cheerleaders wear little “panties” that cover their bottoms so their underwear aren’t hanging out? Also there are plenty of short versions of bike short or mid-thigh bike shorts at Target that could bring them into compliance and not make the girls hot. That is of course assuming you think the cheerleaders need to brought into compliance with the school rule.

Should the cheerleaders’ skirts have to be as long as the other students’ skirts? It that a reasonable standard for a traditional uniform that has generally been a shorter skirt? How would you rectify the situation with the girls?

Has your school had trouble with the length of cheerleaders’ skirts? How short are they?

71 comments Add your comment


September 14th, 2011
3:34 pm

I was a cheerleader in high school amd graduated in ‘01. We had the same issue then and it thoroughly made us mad. We earned the priveledge to be a cheerleader. It wasn’t a right. And because some girls complained that we got to wear short skirts and they didn’t that it wasn’t fair. So they banned us from wearing our uniforms to school even on pep rally days. We were steamed. We had to wear a top and jeans instead. I hated it. We earned that priveledge to wear our uniforms to school but it wasn’t “fair” to other girls who just wanted to dress slutty on a regular basis. I think the rule is utterly ridiculous. Those girls earn and work hard for that priveledge and it should be an exception to the rule on gameday. The other students didn’t earn the priveledge because they aren’t on the squad, ho hum oh well. They shouldn’t have to fit the dress code and they should be able to stand out. Just a humble opinion from a former cheerleader.


September 14th, 2011
3:37 pm

they are all up to their ya ya any way.. how about making them LONGER!


September 14th, 2011
3:40 pm

Do you really, really want your daughters showing off their behinds? I don’t.

Milton Cheer Mom

September 14th, 2011
3:41 pm

@ Cheer Parent—LOL. Good call. Because of the traditions of cheerleading, the attire, etc. I don’t think that they offer the distractions that the school dress code is trying to eliminate. Do they cause distraction in school? Yes. But that is more about the related activity than the dress. And unless sports is going to be eliminated you can’t get away from that.


September 14th, 2011
3:43 pm

Sorry but don’t get the point of cheerleading at all.


September 14th, 2011
4:00 pm

@Georgia Girl, sorry I misunderstood your point. I thought you were agruing against the quote at the top of your comment at 1:17.

I agree with the quote and evidently with you. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

@Zster, looks like my “since the 1950’s” comment pretty much nailed it.


September 14th, 2011
4:01 pm

@ABC, that’s hardly relevant.


September 14th, 2011
4:04 pm

I was a cheerleader in high school and graduated in ‘01. We had the same issue back then. However, being a cheerleader is a priveledge not a right. Therefore wearing a uniform on gameday is a priveledge cheerleaders earn and work hard for. We had some girls complain that it wasn’t fair that we got to wear our uniforms because they were short. And I’ll be danged if our dumb principle banned us from wearing our uniforms on gameday to school. We were steamed!! We had to wear jeans because it wasn’t “fair” to those who didn’t earn that priveledge and just wanted to dress that way on a normal basis. Being a former cheerleader, I side with the cheerleaders on this. They should be able to wear their uniforms and stand out on gameday because by golly they earned it. I don’t care if others think it isn’t fair or right. Once again it’s not a right but a priveledge. It is special and they should be able to express that on gameday as an exception to the rule. It’s 7 or 8 times a year for goodness sake. Everyone just needs to get over it already.


September 14th, 2011
4:10 pm

@Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

You said ” they have always been short. so why challenge it now??? has dressing deteriorated so much that they can’t allow any exceptions? Does this one principal have a bee in her bonnet unrelated? Is she new to the job? why now?”

You must not have read the article you wrote about. It clearly states:

“The dress code at the East Side Union High School District campus isn’t new — and requiring that skirts or shorts stretch lower than mid-thigh is pretty universal school code around the country. What’s new this year at Piedmont Hills is that the cheer skirts got shorter.”

Imagine that, the skirts got shorter, thus they broke the dress code, are where not allowed in CLASS.

You mean as a writer for a newspaper, you are supposed to read the articles you are writing about? That’s pretty hard I know. And people wonder why the journalism business is in the dumps. What happened to editing?


September 14th, 2011
4:17 pm


I think it is hilariously ironic that you called your principle (sic) dumb.


September 14th, 2011
4:23 pm

@Cheerparent & @MiltoncheerMom,

Let’s see you go out and get 20 custom made, custom colored outfits (skirts, tops, bloomers, pom poms) made for less than $300. The company/persons that makes these will never be able to mass produce more to lower the unit cost. Thus, they cost $300.

It ain’t F-ing Wal-Mart ladies!

The San Jose Principal is off her rocker. I suspect if a picture of her (the Principal) was published, that would explain everything. Over / under on Principal Traci Williams is 180 lbs. LOL…


September 14th, 2011
4:25 pm


I think you just summed up exactly why people dislike cheerleaders. It was so good, it almost seems like a troll attempt.

Besides, your points are completely why cheerleaders should not be allowed to break the rules. If being a cheerleader is a privilege, then the girls (and boys) should follow the rules set out for students or choose not be one. If the girls don’t want to wear sweats/jeans/biker shorts then they should give up their privilege of being a cheerleader.

And for those that think I am a jealous/hateful/mean person with something against cheerleaders, I can assure you that I am not. I, in fact, have great respect for cheerleaders. But I wish they would focus as much on the “leader” as they do on the “cheer.” In many cases they are the most visible people for a high school. If they wanted to use their position to show case themselves, and their classmates, in the best light, they would not try to gain themselves special treatment.


September 14th, 2011
4:35 pm


So that’s what it comes down to? The principal is just a jealous, heavy, ugly women who wants to get back at all the cute cheerleaders. That’s a sound argument.

How about the fact that clothing has been shown to be a very large distraction for students? I’m as much a red blooded male as anyone, but we should do what is best for the students, which is to follow the rules.

[...] Should cheerleaders' skirts be shorter than school standard?Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)“As first reported by the San Jose Mercury News, the move to make cheerleaders wear sweats under their uniforms was enforced so they could fall in line with a dress code that requires all skirts or shorts to stretch lower than mid-thigh. …Cheerleaders Compromise on Miniskirt BanNBC Bay AreaCalifornia Principal Says Cheerleading Miniskirts Too RisqueFox News (blog)San Jose Cheerleaders Forced To Wear SweatpantsKSBW The Central Coast [...]

Adam & Eve

September 14th, 2011
6:37 pm

Sounds like the old U.S.S.R.


September 14th, 2011
11:56 pm

I went to a high school with no football or basketball team and no cheerleaders so I don’t have a bias for or against cheerleaders nor do I have experience with the “distractions”. However, I feel that the rules should apply to EVERYONE, EVERYDAY, unless there is a special activity that ALL students get to participate in. As Jennifer (I think) said, swimmers do not get to come to school in bathing suits before a meet, which would be the equivalent of cheerleaders coming to school in their uniforms before a game. The former would be completely unacceptable so the latter should not just be a “given”. It’s not that hard to understand or to enforce. Skirt too short? Put on some pants underneath or change bottoms.

Oh, I did go to Catholic school for a few years in elementary and one year in middle school and sometimes we had to do the old “get on your knees to see if your skirt touched the floor” test. If it did not, the skirt was too short and you had to go home and not come back until you had a skirt the appropriate length. I don’t see where there is a difference just because cheerleaders are a “special” and small population in the school. We had cheerleaders then and they did not wear cheer uniforms to school, just the plaid like everyone else.

Cheer Coach

September 15th, 2011
11:18 am

I really don’t understand the debate around all of this. The reality is there are many different ways around the modesty issue, as I cheer coach I know this. I get catalogs every week offerening a multitude of different options. I coach at Christian School and we operate under the premise that cheerleading uniforms must adhere to dress code. We have chosen to go with a bootcut uniform pant that like nice and clean and there absolutely no modesty issues with it. Skirts can be made anwhere from 10 inches to 20+ inches and there are always leggings if you go with shorter skirts. Many schools are doing coordinated leggings under their skirts. Someone mentioned bloomers, there is not difference in bloomers and regular underwear accept the fabric is thicker. They do not solve any modesty issues whatsoever. Many squads are now doing zebra print and sequined bloomers basically drawing even more attention to their booties. I’m just saying no one needs to whine and loose sleep over schools cracking down on cheerleading uniforms. There are plenty of options where you can have nice uniforms without looking trashy.

Cheer Coach

September 15th, 2011
11:23 am

I am a cheer coach and just got custom uniforms with shell top with braid and lettering, matching fitted bootcut uniform pants with braiding and a matching bodyline with two colors and braiding for $135 per girl. Sounds like your coach needs to work a little harder for parents to find better prices ;) . I can do the whole uniform, shoes, bows, poms, bag and probably even matching warm-up jacket for less than $300.


September 16th, 2011
1:07 am

Or they could change the skirt length requirements for everyone. Even the shortest cheerleader skirts cover enough for those merely walking and sitting in school.

[...] loud, bubbly and full of team spirit. Even when they are knocked down, this group of fearless, mini-skirted, big-hairbowed, bouncing beauties never quit leading their team’s [...]

Big Mama

September 18th, 2011
6:03 pm

The whole point of being a cheerleader (and wearing our uniforms) was to look really cute in our tiny skirts. This was part of the teenage world of the 1980s. But these days it seems like someone is always trying to take the fun out of everthing!