Bud Kennedy

In quick turn, Aubrey schools OK Air Force logos

Two 11-year-old twins at Aubrey Middle School were told they could not wear this jacket because it violated the school district’s dress code.
Two 11-year-old twins at Aubrey Middle School were told they could not wear this jacket because it violated the school district’s dress code. Courtesy Denton Record-Chronicle

Freedom and liberty reign in Denton County, where 11-year-old twins now once again may wear U.S. Air Force jackets to middle school.

Now and then, parents pick a dress-code fight with school officials and turn out to be right.

That was the case for Amie and Phill Rolen of Providence Village, who wanted their daughters to be able to wear Air Force jackets despite an ambiguous dress code banning logos.

Dress code debates have broken out across North Texas campuses this year, but usually over familiar disputes such as skirt or shirt length, required belts or the acceptability of leggings.

In Aubrey, the debate was over a logo, and not just any logo.

The Rolens’ daughters, Abby and Kaidy, were told Oct. 7 they couldn’t wear big hooded jackets with “U.S. Air Force” and the winged logo across the backs.

Principal Karen Wright, who was only doing her job, told the Rolens, both Air Force veterans, how a service logo was fine but this was too big for Aubrey’s dress code.

Depending how you read the code, either you can’t wear any logo except the Aubrey Chaparrals’, or you can wear a “store/designer” logo that’s less than 1 1/2 inches square.

“The principal yelled at me to take it off and put it in my locker,” Kaidy Rolen said Tuesday on Fox and Friends, which invited the Rolens after Phillip Rolen’s social media comments Thursday launched a worldwide campaign against zero tolerance for logos.

“I was really offended by that,” she said.

Yes, we live in a world where 11-year-olds now get to go on national TV and talk about being offended, whether it’s over an Air Force jacket or a homemade clock.

But the Rolens seem right. Compared with other districts, the Aubrey policy is unusually restrictive.

For example, Fort Worth’s dress code prohibits logos for alcohol, tobacco or any product illegal for teens. (In a city that defended America throughout the Cold War, I doubt any school official would ever object to an Air Force jacket.)

Other districts have tougher rules but also exceptions for schools, nonprofits or patriotic causes.

Aubrey officials, besieged by complaints and threatening calls from across the country, announced Tuesday that the Rolen twins can wear the jackets “until the dress code can be revisited.”

On Facebook, Phill Rolen praised the Aubrey district and Providence Village as a “patriotic area and a great place to live.” His family doesn’t want to be “troublemakers or pot-stirrers,” he wrote, just patriotic Americans.

State Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Frisco, who represents the Aubrey area, wrote that he hadn’t talked to the family or school officials.

But he added, “Being an Air Force veteran myself, we all hope and pray that a reasonable and common-sense solution can be reached in very short order.”

Fallon defended schools’ dress codes but added that it’s encouraging “when the youth of America wear garments that demonstrate respect, admiration and love of our country and our armed forces.”

This dress code wouldn’t fly.

Bud Kennedy: 817-390-7538, bud@star-telegram.com, @BudKennedy. His column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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