Cheerleaders upset they can't wear pink uniforms

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A cheerleading team at a Tampa high school won't be allowed to wear pink uniforms for Breast Cancer Awareness month, and it all comes down to district policy, a Hillsborough County Schools spokesperson said Wednesday.

Cheerleaders at Tampa Bay Tech raised money last year to buy pink uniforms for the 18-person squad and wore them during the October football games. It cost each girl about $100.

"Both of our aunts had breast cancer and they're breast cancer survivors," said cheerleader Kelly Warren, referring to her and another cheerleader. "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."

The cheerleaders planned to do the same thing this year, but the school district recently sent out a letter reminding all sports teams they must wear their district-issued uniforms unless they received special approval to wear alternative ones.

Tanya Arja, a spokesperson for Hillsborough County Schools, said the pink uniforms were never approved in 2014 and the district didn't even know the cheerleading team had purchased them.

"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, adding there are other ways to support the cause. "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."

Arja said the uniform policy is in place to keep things fair. For example, the district doesn't want schools in upscale communities to be able to get high-end uniforms that some other schools and families couldn't afford.

Some of the cheerleaders' parents said the district is being too inflexible in this case, and they're hoping for a change-of-heart.