Parents File Suit After Child Is Suspended Over Hairstyle

A lawsuit was filed on Saturday by the family of a Black high school student against officials in Texas, accusing them of not enforcing a recent law that prohibits discrimination based on hair. The Associated Press (AP) states that school authorities in the Houston area alleged that Darryl George, a 17-year-old Barbers Hill High School junior, sported dreadlocks extending below his eyebrows and earlobes, breaching the school’s dress code. Consequently, George has been under in-school suspension since August 31 due to the supposed violation.

However, the George family and their lawyer maintain that the teen’s hairstyle complies with the school’s dress regulations. They’ve initiated a civil rights lawsuit targeting the state governor and attorney general. In the lawsuit, Allie Booker, the family’s lawyer, emphasized that George “should be allowed to style his hair as he chooses.”

The Texas Education Agency received a formal complaint from George’s mother and her attorney just a week prior. They assert that George was subjected to mistreatment from the school district authorities, and his suspension is inconsistent with the newly established CROWN Act, as reported by AP.

The CROWN Act, which translates to “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” prohibits the discrimination of hairstyles associated with racial backgrounds. As the act’s website notes, it ensures that employers, educators, and others cannot enforce strict “appearance-related policies.”

State Democratic Representative Ron Reynolds, a co-writer of the Texas CROWN Act, conveyed his support to ABC News, stating, “We stand with him and assure that he’s not fighting this battle alone.” He represents the Texas Legislative Black Caucus in this sentiment.

Furthermore, as per the Economic Policy Institute, the CROWN Act has been adopted in 24 states nationwide.

In 2019, multiple female students, in collaboration with the ACLU, took legal action against Charter Day School in North Carolina due to its dress code mandate: pants for boys and skirts for girls.

Although a federal court decided in favor of the students, barring the school from implementing the dress code, the school sought the Supreme Court’s intervention to preserve its right to dictate a dress code. Yet, the Supreme Court justices opted not to examine the case.