ELMA, Wash. (AP) Sacri-ficing a game-day tradition to ward off the distraction of bare adolescent thighs, Elma High School has banned its cheerleaders' short skirts from its hallways and classrooms.
The move has members of the cheerleading and drill teams, and their parents some of whom wore similar skirts years ago steaming.
''Elma has dropped back to the dark ages,'' Kathy Shaw, whose daughter is on the drill team, told The Daily World. ''They are making our kids feel like they're not nice girls when they are.''
For years, the brief blue-and-white skirts have been exempt from the dress code at this small town west of Olympia on days when the teams were scheduled to play. Now they'll be allowed only at games and other performances not in the hallways.
''What the high school decided is that the dress code would apply to everyone equally,'' Elma School Superintendent Tami Hickle said. Officials from the high school itself would not comment to The World.
Cathie Spalding, whose daughter Annette is on the drill team, said parents were told school administrators pushed for the ban, saying the high skirts were a distraction in the classroom, especially for boys.
Parents doubt the outfits relatively demure by cheerleader standards thanks to the cool weather at the average Friday night football game in Elma would do much to further crank up the hormones of teenage boys.
''Boys are going to be horn-toads anyway, whether (the girls) are wearing a short skirt or not,'' said Spalding, who speaks from experience, having worn the short skirt of a Hoquiam High School cheerleader in the early 1970s.
On Friday, the first day the ban took effect, drill team member Katie Schouweiler wore her team sweater and ''very ugly'' warm-up pants.
Schouweiler said the girls look ''very clean cut wearing our uniforms'' and doesn't see the rare exception to the dress code as a big deal.
''We wear them like six times'' a year, Schouweiler said.
Shaw and the other parents said the new rule devalues the hard work the girls put in practicing, keeping up their grades and raising money to buy the expensive uniforms.
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