U.S.

Judge rules Texas school legally punished Black student for his hair

Eighteen-year-old Darryl George has been suspended from regular classes since late August over his locs hairstyle.

Texas student Darryl George
Michael Wyke / AP
SMS

A judge ruled Thursday that a Black student who was suspended for months over his locs hairstyle was legally punished by the school district. 

Darryl George, 18, had been told by his school district in suburban Houston that he was breaking the rules about student appearance and dress code. 

State District Judge Chap Cain III ruled in favor of the Barbers Hill School District on Thursday, saying the district has not violated a new state law prohibiting race-based hair discrimination. 

The issue centered around the length of George's hair.  

George and his family say his hairstyle is protected by a state law known as the Texas Crown Act. 

It was recently enacted and protects people from discrimination based on hairstyles historically associated with race. A co-author of the bill testified that the bill was meant to protect men, woman and children of color from discrimination based on hairstyle.  

The school district has maintained that George’s hair is too long, and that the Crown Act doesn’t give total freedom to students to wear their hair any way they want, claiming their rules are race-neutral.  

George hasn’t been allowed to attend regular class since this issue came up last fall. The trial was brought by George’s family and then the district countersued.  

The trial started Thursday morning. It was a bench trial, meaning the judge heard the arguments and made the decision on the civil trial without the participation of a jury.

This is not the first time the school district has been involved in a hair controversy. In 2020, two students were suspended for the length of their dreadlocks. A federal judge granted a temporary injunction in favor of the students, but their lawsuit is still pending. 

Texas student suspended for locs is being sent to alternative school
Texas student suspended for locs is being sent to alternative school

Texas student suspended for locs is being sent to alternative school

The school principal said the student has repeatedly violated the district's “previously communicated standards of student conduct."

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