A Texas high school suspended a Black student again for refusing to cut his hair.
Darryl George, an 18-year-old student at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, Texas was referred to in-school suspension for 13 days on his first day back after spending a month in an alternative school program.
A copy of the school’s referral notice obtained by CNN says: “Darryl’s hair is out of compliance with the BH dress code when let down. If Darryl corrects his dress code violation he will be allowed to return to his regular classes.”
George has been suspended since August 31 for wearing twisted dreadlocks to school. He was sent to EPIC, an alternative school program, from October 12 to November 29 after repeated violations of the school’s dress code policy.
His mother explained that all the men in their family have dreadlocks going back generations and the hairstyle has cultural and religious importance for them. But, their request for an exemption was denied.
As a result, George has spent more than 80% of his junior year outside of his regular classroom, according to the Associated Press.
The district’s dress code does not allow male students to have hair extending below the eyebrows, ear lobes or top of a T-shirt collar.
George’s family argue that the district’s policy violates Texas CROWN Act, a law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of hairstyles “commonly or historically associated with race”. The school says the CROWN Act does not address hair length.
However, co-author of the CROWN Act, Texas state Rep. Ron Reynolds (D) said the law was passed to protect students from hair discrimination regardless of the length.
“I will file an amendment to the bill during the next Legislative session that specifically addresses length to stop their pretextual argument to not comply with the CROWN Act,” Reynolds told CNN.
“They are acting in bad faith to continue discriminating against African American students,” he added.
The family has filed a lawsuit against the Texas governor, attorney general and the school district alleging that they failed to enforce the new law banning discrimination based on hairstyles.
The school district has also filed a lawsuit in state district court seeking clarification on whether its policy limiting male students hair length violates the CROWN Act.