Texas High School Allowed To Punish Black Student For His Hairstyle, Judge Rules

The student wears his hair up, but if let down, it would violate the school's hair length policy.

A judge ruled Thursday that a Texas school district is legally allowed to discipline a Black high school student for his hairstyle.

Darryl George, an 18-year-old junior at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, has been serving an in-school suspension from the Barbers Hill Independent School District since Aug. 31 because he refuses to change his hairstyle, according to The Associated Press.

The school district filed a lawsuit, saying that George’s long hair violates its dress code because, if worn down, his hair would be below his shirt collar. George wears his hair in tied and twisted locs on top of his head.

The judge ruled in favor of the school district, saying that its hair length policy doesn’t violate the state’s CROWN Act, which prohibits race-based hair discrimination and prohibits employers and schools from disciplining people because of hair texture or protective hairstyles, like braids, locs or twists. The law, which went into effect in September 2023, doesn’t mention anything about hair length, however.

A representative for George expressed disappointment in the judge’s decision.

“The fight is far from over, and we are already exploring all available options to challenge and overturn this decision,” Kellen Coleman said in a statement to HuffPost. “Our dedication to ensuring equality and justice in educational settings remains unwavering.”

Greg Poole, the school district’s superintendent, said in a statement to HuffPost that the “CROWN Act does not give students unlimited self-expression.”

“The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that affirmative action is a violation of the 14th Amendment and we believe the same reasoning will eventually be applied to the CROWN Act,” Poole said. “High expectations have helped make Barbers Hill ISD a state leader in all things, and high standards at school benefit all ethnicities. Falsely claiming racism is worse than racism and undermines efforts to address actions that violate constitutionally protected rights.”

George told CNN before the trial that he thinks the rule is “just there to attack people” with locs and braids.

“They don’t pick on anybody else but me,” he said.

In May last year, a North Carolina school required two Native American boys, including one in first grade, to cut off their long hair if they wanted to return to class.

The first grader’s mother, Ashley Lomboy, said that her son’s long hairstyle symbolized a part of the Waccamaw Siouan Tribe’s heritage and that hair is linked to spirituality. The school district said that the boys’ hairstyles went against its policy, which states that boys’ hair “must be neatly trimmed and off the collar, above the eyebrows, not below the top of the ears or eyebrows, and not an excessive height.”

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