ORLANDO, Fla. – Dozens of Orange County students and parents gathered at Lake Eola on Wednesday to demonstrate for the return of cheerleading, marching band and other school spirit groups at high school football games this fall.
District leaders in Seminole, Volusia, Osceola, Marion and Lake Counties told News 6 they plan to allow for cheerleaders and marching bands to participate in at least some capacity at school football games. However, district leaders in Orange County recently unveiled different plans for how high school football festivities would return.
Those plans call for any pep rallies, band performances, and other staples of Friday night football to be pretaped and played over the loudspeakers and on scoreboards during games to help keep attendance down.
Mary Beth Brockman is the parent of a band member at West Orange High School.
“Only the football team is allowed to play, which has excluded cheerleaders, dance leaders, marching band and JROTC,” she said. “We just want them all to be allowed to participate in Friday night lights.”
Senior Buddy Pagliuca plays alto saxophone and is one of the drum majors with the West Orange marching band.
“I feel it’s a very unfair decision when they have kids tackling each other and we could just play our instruments six feet apart from each other and be fine,” he said.
Pagliuca detailed how band practice continues at school, without a performance in sight.
“As of right now, we’re still having three Tuesday practices, to have something under our belts, in case something else changes but other than that, we have nothing planned in the sense of marching band,” he said.
In the meantime, district leaders told News 6 they continue to look for other ways to showcase student talent and promote school spirit. To read more on their reopening plan, including athletics, click here.