HOUSTON – A high school English teacher has accused school administrators of bullying and retaliation because of her decision to wear medical scrubs to work.
“I wear scrubs and a scrub cap,” said Abarca, an English teacher at James Madison High School in southwest Houston.
Abarca has worn scrubs to work since Oct. 22. That also marked the day she said the school’s principal sent her home because she refused to change her clothes. Abarca said she wears medical scrubs as personal protection equipment, not only to protect her students but also her young children at home.
“I have been wearing consistently my scrub cap but because it mimics or impersonates a health professional I am not allowed to wear it,” she said, referring to the first disciplinary write-up she received on the matter.
A “memo of concern,” dated Oct. 22, warned Abarca, “scrub tops are approved for you to wear. It is a distraction to the students and staff and inappropriate to your job assignment.”
It was OK for Abarca to wear a scrub top but pants and the cap were in violation of the school’s dressed code, the letter stipulated.
“I was wearing jeans with my scrub cap and (the principal) was still writing me up, so I figured I’d go in my full safety attire in what I feel comfortable and safe in,” Abarca said.
Madison High School’s principal and the assistant principal have written Abarca up for said violation six times total, according to disciplinary documents obtained by KPRC 2. The most recent was Dec. 4, which also stipulated who decided dress code on campus.