A Black student was suspended for his hairstyle. Now his family is suing Texas officials

The family of a black Texas high school student who was suspended from school for having dreadlocks filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Saturday against the state’s governor and attorney general for failing to enforce a new law that criminalizes discrimination based on hairstyle. I woke you up.

Darryl George, 17, a senior at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, has been suspended since Aug. 31. Houston-area school officials say his dreadlocks fall below his eyebrows and earlobes, violating district regulations. Dress code.

George’s mother, Daresha George, and the family’s attorney deny that the boy’s hairstyle violates the dress code, saying the boy’s hair is tied neatly into twisted dreadlocks atop his head. did.

Black student suspended from school for hairstyle, school claims no discrimination

Supporters of Darryl George argue that the continued suspension by the Barbers Hill Independent School District violates the state’s Crown Law, which took effect Sept. 1.

The lawsuit also alleges that Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton failed to protect his constitutional rights from discrimination and violations of free speech and expression in his official capacity. George said, “He should be allowed to style his hair the way he wears it…So-called neutral grooming policies have no germane relationship to learning or safety, and when applied, have a disproportionate impact on black men.” Because we give,” said Ally Booker. The family’s attorney wrote in the complaint:

Spokespeople for both Republicans, Mr. Abbott and Mr. Paxton, did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment Saturday.

Darryl George, a 17-year-old junior, walks across the street to enter Barbers Hill High School after receiving a five-day in-school suspension for not cutting his hair, Monday, Sept. 18, 2023, in Mont Belvieu. . (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order to stop George’s suspension from school while the case is in court.

“The time has come to bring the fight to Barbers Hill ISD. We will face racism and hold it accountable,” said George, the new Black Panther Nation’s national political minister and spokesperson for George’s family. one Candice Matthews said in an article. Saturday’s statement.

The lawsuit, filed by George’s mother in Houston federal court, is the latest legal action taken in connection with the suspension.

Connecticut passes UK law banning discrimination against natural hair

On Tuesday, Darryl George and her attorney filed suit with the Texas Education Agency, claiming that Darryl George was harassed and abused by school district officials over his hair and that his suspension violated the Crown Act. A formal complaint has been filed.

They claim that during his suspension, George was forced to sit in a chair for eight hours and was denied the free hot lunch he was entitled to. The agency is investigating the complaint.

Daresha George said she was recently hospitalized after suffering a series of panic and anxiety attacks due to stress related to her son’s suspension from school.

Texas hair discrimination lawsuit

Seventeen-year-old junior Darryl George (left) and his mother speak to reporters before walking across the street to go to Barbers Hill High School after Darryl received a five-day suspension for not making the cut. Daresha George (right) with his hair on Monday, September 18, 2023 at Mont Belvieu. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

The school district filed its own lawsuit in state court Wednesday, asking a judge to clarify whether a dress code that limits male students’ hair length violates the Crown Act.

Barbers Hill Superintendent Greg Poole said he believes the dress code is legal and teaches obedience to students as a sacrifice that benefits everyone.

The school district said it does not intend to increase Darryl George’s current punishment pending the outcome of the lawsuit.

The CROWN Act, an acronym for “Create a Respecful and Open World for Natural Hair,” prohibits hair discrimination based on race and prohibits hair discrimination based on race, including hair textures such as afros, braids, and dreadlocks, and protective hairstyles. It aims to prohibit employers and schools from punishing people for. , twisted or Bantu knots. Texas is one of her 24 states to have enacted the law.

A federal version passed the U.S. House of Representatives last year, but not the Senate.

State Rep. Retta Bowers, who authored Texas’ version of the CROWN law, said Friday that George’s hairstyle is protected under the new law and called on the Barbers Hill School District to lift his suspension.

“The Texas Crown Act was passed to prevent situations like this, but it is extremely disappointing to see Barbers Hill ISD trying to find loopholes to circumvent the law and perpetuate hair discrimination,” Bowers said in a statement. ” he said.

George’s school previously clashed with two other black boys over the dress code.


Barbers Hill officials told cousins ​​DeAndre Arnold and Kayden Bradford that they had to cut their dreadlocks in 2020. The families of the two students sued the school district in May 2020, and a federal judge later ruled that the district’s hair policy was discriminatory. Their case received national attention, is still pending, and prompted Texas lawmakers to approve the state’s CROWN Act. Both students were expelled from the school, but Bradford was reinstated after the judge’s ruling.

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