Texas Judge Rules in Favor of School's Dreadlock Discipline: No Violation of State Law

A Texas court decided on Thursday that a high school in the Houston area that banned a Black student for refusing to cut his hair did not break a state statute that forbids discrimination based on race in hairstyles. Darryl George, the student, has been out of school since August at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, Texas.

According to court filings, the Barbers Hill Independent School District claimed that George's hair, which he wears in locs, violated its dress code. Male pupils in the district are required to adhere to a clothing code that prohibits hair falling below the brows, earlobes, or a T-shirt collar when let down.

According to court filings, George said that he declined to have his hair trimmed because his locs are a symbol of his ethnic pride. George styles his hair in pinned-up, tight twists.

In September, the school district requested that a Chambers County court rule on whether the clothing code was in violation of the state statute known as the Crown Act, which took effect the same month. It forbids treating someone differently at work or school because of their hair's texture or style, including twists, locs, and braids.

According to the school district, hair length is unrelated to the Crown Act. The school district's attorney, Sara Hardner Leon, expressed gratitude on Thursday for the court's quick review of the case and for providing clarity on the new state statute.

George claimed in court filings that Black men are more negatively impacted by the district's clothing ordinance than anybody else. He said that having his hair cropped restricts his ability to express himself freely.

In September, George and his mother Darresha George filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton, claiming the authorities had neglected to shield the pupil from discrimination based on race and gender. That lawsuit is still pending. Abbott and Paxton have requested the dismissal of the federal case.


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