On Wednesday, October 7, 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 949 into law, making competition cheerleading an official sport in high schools. The bill known as the C.H.E.E.R.S Act, which stands for California High Schools Expanding Equality Respect and Safety, was co-written by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez from San Diego. Assemblywoman Gonzalez has been an avid supporter and participant of cheerleading as a high school cheerleader, college cheerleader, cheerleading coach, and as a parent.
Cheerleading competitions are mostly run by private businesses outside of high schools and can end up being expensive for the athletes and families involved. According to a press release issued by Lorena Gonzalez’s office, Bill 949 “requires the California Department of Education to develop guidelines, procedures, and safety standards…for high school cheerleading no later than July 1, 2017.”
California joins ten other states that acknowledge cheerleading as a high school sport. In following with other high school sports like football or baseball, cheerleading will have its own season and will be regulated by the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF). With the passing of this bill, Gonzalez and all of her supporters hope that cheerleading athletes will have both “the respect and…safety standards they deserve.”
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