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Transcript: Will Texas Ban Sexy Cheerleading?

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 20, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Unresolved Problems" segment tonight, with the Internet and the entertainment industry pushing the boundaries of public decency, it was inevitable that high school and college students would follow.

In many parts of the country, cheerleading is a huge activity, very competitive and very high profile. At San Jose State University, in California, there was a confrontation at a basketball game between a cheerleader and a fan who thought the routine was indecent. That cheerleading squad was actually suspended by the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics (search).

And in Texas, a new law is being proposed that would make it illegal for public school cheerleaders to act in a suggestive manner.

With us now, Sheila Noone, the editorial director for American Cheerleader magazine, and from Austin, Texas, representative Al Edwards who is sponsoring the Cheerleader Restraint Act (search).

Is that a good way of putting it, Mr. Edwards, the Cheerleader Restraint Act?

REP. AL EDWARDS, D-TEXAS STATE LEGISLATOR: Well, I'm not so sure it's just like that, Bill, but I would suggest that maybe we should look at it the way it is and that is to clean up what we see, the overly explicit, sexually suggestive moves and acts that take place on our high school, and middle school and even now our elementary school, campuses.

O'REILLY: Really. It's interesting, because Texas is ground zero for cheerleading. You've got the Kilgore Rangerettes. You've got the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. I mean, this is cheerleading country. And are you telling me that when you go to a public high school football game on Friday night, that the cheerleaders are doing obscene, lewd things out on the football field?

EDWARDS: Well, it is seemingly worse than that, but since we're not dealing with the Rangers and the Cowboys, this is strictly those in secondary schools now, our children.

I heard your previous show talking about what has happened, and I can say we have looked the other way too long as it relates to our children. When the Janet Jackson (search) case happened, the public went crazy because of what took place. They said, "My family and I are watching the Super Bowl (search ), and that is unacceptable."

O'REILLY: Yes, but what I'm trying to get at, is that happening in Texas? I mean, in Abilene and in Midland and in Euless and in Marshall, Texas, are little girls going out there and flashing? What are they doing?

EDWARDS: Well, listen, it's far too provocative, and I've gotten just hundreds and hundreds of calls over the years. And any adult that we talk to, most of them will agree that it is overdone. It should cleaned up. And that's what we're doing. We have no problems with the marching and whatever happens in the games or...

O'REILLY: Yes, we're looking at cheerleading. This is traditional.

EDWARDS: This deals with all of them.

O'REILLY: All right. You've seen it, though? I have to say I don't go to high school games a lot, and I haven't seen any obscene stuff.

EDWARDS: Yes, I've seen it.

O'REILLY: You've seen it?

EDWARDS: I've seen it over the years and I can tell you, I could produce you thousands of others who have seen it. And at this point they are simply saying that they are glad we've finally looked like we want to do something about it.

O'REILLY: All right. I want to tell the folks if the bill passes — it's going to be voted on soon — that you would deny funds to schools that, after being warned, continue to allow this stuff to happen. You wouldn't have the Texas Rangers (search ) out there busting the cheerleaders and putting them in 'cuffs, would you?

EDWARDS: No. What we're doing is we're going to make some adjustments as it relates to that because we don't want to police or beat anyone over the head.

O'REILLY: Yes. You're going to hold them — that's smart.

EDWARDS: What we're saying, we're saying to the Texas Education Agency (search ), "You go and clean it up." We're giving it to them first. And that's going to be the adjustments and amendments.

O'REILLY: All right. Let's hear from Ms. Noone. What do you think about this? First of all, do you buy that this MTV-type cheerleading video is happening all over the country?

SHEILA NOONE, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, AMERICAN CHEERLEADER MAGAZINE: I don't think it's happening to the extreme length that Mr. Edwards is saying it's happening. There are 3.5 million cheerleaders in this country. I have a hard time believing that they're all doing this.

O'REILLY: Not all of them. You know.

NOONE: I've seen at least 30,000 cheerleaders this year alone, through different competitions I've gone to.

O'REILLY: Thirty thousand?

NOONE: There are events with 15,000-20,000 kids attending.

O'REILLY: Have you seen anything that you thought was over the line?

NOONE: Occasionally, but I don't think it needs the state to step in. What I'd like to see is coaches and administrators working with parents to regulate what their children are doing.

O'REILLY: OK, but if that was the case and then you wouldn't see that because the coaches and the administrators would be — look, you've got pinheads in every school system.

NOONE: Sure.

O'REILLY: I think Mr. Edwards has an interesting solution, whether you agree with him or not. I'd have to see what they were doing. But he's basically saying, "Look, if we warn you, if one of our state officials goes to a game and sees a bump-and-grind out there or suggested by little kids, because they're children, and we warn you and you don't clean it up we're going to deny you state money."

That seems to be fair. No?

NOONE: That's fair. I just worry who is making the judgment calls.

O'REILLY: Well, the state education authority, right, Mr. Edwards? You're going to have the state authority making the judgment call, right?

EDWARDS: Well, the state authority, of course, Bill. But listen, you're going to have students and parents at those games and those functions, and I can't describe what we are seeing physically, but I can tell you any adult that has been involved with sex, they know it when they see it.

O'REILLY: I understand that, but you've got to have a referee. Just like you've got to have somebody saying this is over the line and this is OK. You can't be having 55,000 parents making the call.

EDWARDS: Well, no. It will get back to the school district.

O'REILLY: Right.

EDWARDS: Absolutely. Get back to the school districts, because when they need the moneys that they need to run our school districts throughout this state, they come to the legislature and we deal with it.

O'REILLY: Right.

EDWARDS: And we will do the same with this.

O'REILLY: OK, Ms. Noone, you must have seen a huge change in cheerleading over the years. Because we were just talking about the change in respect of children toward parents and authorities. Have you seen a big change?

NOONE: Well, sure. Cheerleading is always going to reflect pop culture at the time.

O'REILLY: Right. They're watching the videos.

NOONE: What's ironic about this, though, is three or four years ago I think there was more suggestive behavior, and the industry itself tried to regulate itself. They have cracked down on rules, coaches. Coaches go to a certification class. They're going to learn how not to do this. If you see a cheerleading competition, points get taken off of people's scores...

O'REILLY: Yes, but it's different than a cheerleading competition where you're looking at gymnastics and you're looking at coordination than going out and being an exhibitionist in a basketball or football game. You know that.

NOONE: That's true.

O'REILLY: That's what Mr. Edwards is talking about. Go ahead, Mr. Edwards.

EDWARDS: It's quite different. Yes, what she's talking about, I understand. And even those groups agree with me and my legislation. And also, the speaker and a number of the people in the education committees of the state of Texas who have passed this out.

O'REILLY: All right.

EDWARDS: They are simply saying this is not those groups. This is secondary schools and even elementary schools that we must start now doing something with our children or it will forever be too late. And just because it's going on for years, that does not make it right.

O'REILLY: And I might tell everybody if this passes in Texas it will be the first state that has this kind of a law on the books. Ms. Noone, thank you. Mr. Edwards, we'll let everybody know what happens.

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