Locs have gotten Darryl George, a black student in Texas, suspended for a week. George’s mother, Darresha George, has hired a lawyer and is considering legal action against the school district.
According to the Barbers Hill Independent School District dress and grooming code, male students’ hair must not extend below the eyebrows or below the ear lobes.
Darryl George was reprimanded for his locs and for wearing frayed jeans, which are also prohibited. The school gave him the option to change his clothes, but he would also have to cut his hair. When he refused to cut his hair, he was placed on in-school suspension. He received additional punishment for having “hair below his eyebrows when let down.” If he doesn’t cut his hair by the end of the week, he may be placed in a Disciplinary Alternative Education Program.
George’s mother and their lawyer argue that the school’s policy is discriminatory against Black students and may violate the CROWN Act. The CROWN Act aims to protect individuals from discrimination based on their natural hairstyles and textures, recognizing that such policies disproportionately affect people of color. The suit will determine if this was a violation of the CROWN Act or (legal in Texas) gender-based discrimination.
The Texas Legislative Black Caucus has condemned George’s suspension and called for the violations to be removed from his school record. They have also urged the school district to update its code to align with the new state law. The district has faced legal action regarding its hair policy before, with a previous lawsuit alleging racial discrimination and First and Fourteenth Amendment rights violations.
The CROWN Act has been enacted in two dozen states including Texas, but federal legislation has not yet passed. The act seeks to end hair discrimination and protect the cultural identities of individuals with natural hairstyles like locs, braids, and afros.