Mabton parents and students upset about changes to school policy - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Mabton parents and students upset about changes to school policy

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MABTON, Wash.-- Dozens of students and parents gathered outside the Mabton School District Thursday, protesting some changes for the upcoming school year.

Around fifty people marched outside the district, upset about changes to the dress code policy and off-campus lunch rules, saying they weren't given a voice in the decision.

But the district says they're standing by the move.

"We are not opposed to change, but change needs to be done openly and public opinion needs to be sought," said Tawnya Ibarra, a Mabton High School parent.

"Over my two years since I've been here in Mabton School District, there have been numerous conversations that I've had with parents, with students, administrators. Often in those conversations, come up the topic of uniforms and closed campus," said Superintendent Minerva Morales.

And that's where the changes were made. Starting this coming school year, only students with a B average or better will be able to go off-campus for lunch.

And the dress code is changing too.Only certain types of pants, and certain color shirts will be allowed to be worn on campus. Not a uniform, but a strict dress code says the superintendent.

"They're not major changes, but we feel it's attire, dress code that's more conducive to building on academic student success," said Morales.

Parents are still upset though, and because the way district policy is written, the school board did not have to vote on these changes.

"If they would just be open to getting our input and letting us participate in the decision making process, then we will have a successful school," said Ibarra.

"Could the process have been stretched out a little longer? I think maybe so. Would the outcome have been different? Maybe not so," said Morales.

There is an informational meeting Thursday night at 7pm at Mabton High School to talk about the changes.

Superintendent Morales says they will be moving forward with them regardless but they are open to tweaking them to better suit the students.