The superintendent of Aubrey Independent School District in Aubrey, Texas has circulated a letter to district parents warning them that the district is increasing security at schools because a veteran – and father of two district students – went public with a story about the school’s attempt to prevent his daughters from wearing Air Force hoodies to school.
Deborah Kay Sanders told parents that the story “caused much public controversy and concern from our community” and in response to that, “you and your children will see an increased presence of local police on all campuses.”
Phil Rolen, a former Air Force medic and Iraq War veteran, was stunned late last week when Sanders and school officials told his daughters they couldn’t wear hoodies featuring Air Force logos because the logos allegedly violated the school dress code. But the dress code, still available on the Aubrey ISD website, only pertains to “store/designer brand[s]” and “Outerwear that contains or symbolizes any provocative, offensive, violent, drug, tobacco, macabre, gothic, or gang references.” Military logos, which are government-created, are not mentioned any where in the policy.
After the story made national headlines, the school district relented. But on Thursday morning, Rolen made the decision to pull his daughters out of the school after fellow students reportedly surrounded them upset at all the attention the district has received because of Superintendent Sander’s decision to ban the Air Force hoodies.
Sanders, who lives in a comfortable $250,000 home with her husband Ron in Aubrey, made $125,000 in base pay during the 2013-2014 school year according to the Texas Education Agency. Her total compensation package is not known.
The 59 year-old Sanders wasn’t the only person to be upset that the school was caught embarrassing itself. Some district parents lashed out at Rolen online, using social media to say the combat veteran was putting “our children at harm to bomb threats” according to Clifton Reece McKelva, that he was causing “death threats and bomb threats” according to another, and claiming that he was “an idiot with his own personal problem.”
For his part, Rolen says he has retained legal counsel to figure out what he should do next. Rolen is an occasional contributor to Media Trackers. To see the superintendent’s letter and screen-shots of the social media comments visit MediaTrackers.org.