Last week Ashley Olazaba of Burleson went yard sale shopping, excitedly picking out bright pink and purple back-to-school polo shirts for her “girly-girls” for a change. School district rules previously had not allowed children to wear those colors.The 24-year-old mom of five Burleson elementary students saw on the district’s website that the 2014-15 dress code would include pink, purple, green, maroon, gray, orange and yellow shirts this school year. After she spent about $50 on 25 shirts, Olazaba learned that the district had mistakenly posted a draft policy. Actually, students must wear red, navy or white polo shirts or turtlenecks, with the exception of two additional school “spirit colors” allowed at each campus, according to the school district, which has required uniforms for several years.“It was our mistake, and we are going to work with all of our parents to fix it,” said district spokeswoman Victoria Johnson on Thursday.Olazaba said the district removed the draft guidelines without explanation.“That’s what gets me upset,” she said. Olazaba launched a petition drive Sunday on change.org that has 100 signatures from other parents demanding that the school district honor the original post. Olazaba said parents plan to speak at a 6:30 p.m. school board meeting Monday night. Johnson said the district will refund money that parents spent on clothes their children can’t wear to school. Parents will receive emails next week with information on the time and place to bring clothes and receipts for refunds, she said.Parents seeking refunds should bring clothes they purchased between July 17-21 to their home campuses for refunds, she said. The district is working with local businesses to buy the clothes back and provide them to poor students, she said. Olazaba said she bought her kids’ shirts at a yard sale and does not have a receipt. Johnson said the district will work with all parents. Another mom, Brandi Ward, said it’s not about the money. Ward, 41, bought her daughter pink leggings after reading the draft proposal online. Ward signed Olazaba’s petition because her 7-year-old daughter Riley is disappointed that she can’t wear the leggings. She said she also plans to attend the board meeting. Riley “was so excited about the girly colors,” Ward said. “I know the financial aspect is a big part for a lot of people, but for me it’s more of an emotional thing.” Olazaba said she has no problem with uniforms, but she doesn’t understand why the district would rather spend extra money to buy clothes back instead of just letting the students wear the colorful shirts. “I am going to send my kids to school in the clothes I already bought and if they have a problem with it, they can buy some more,” Olazaba said.
Monica S. Nagy, 817-390-7792 Twitter:@MonicaNagyFWST