A Black student in Texas faces suspension over his loc hairstyle, sparking debate about the state’s recent CROWN Act that intends to prevent discrimination based on hairstyles and textures. Here’s the whole story.
Suspension Over Loc Hairstyle
In a move that challenges the recently implemented Texas CROWN Act, Darryl George, a junior at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, has been suspended for an extended period due to his loc hairstyle, which breaches the district’s dress code.
The teenager’s suspension coincidentally came in the same week the CROWN Act, legislation prohibiting discrimination based on hairstyles and hair textures, including protective styles like locs and braids, was instated.
The heart of the dispute revolves around the school’s grooming policy, which dictates, “Male students’ hair will not extend, at any time, below the eyebrows or below the ear lobes.”
It further states that the hair “must not extend below the top of a t-shirt collar or be styled in a manner that would allow it to.”
The School Scolded Her Son
Darresha George, Darryl’s mother, revealed that the school scolded her son for his locs and his frayed jeans. While he was allowed to change his clothing, the school maintained that he must cut his hair.
Darryl’s refusal led to an in-school suspension. Adding insult to injury, the school later imposed an additional five-day penalty when his hair, when released, fell below his eyebrows.
Should he keep his hairstyle by the week’s end, Darryl faces potential transfer to a Disciplinary Alternative Education Program, commonly known as alternative school.
Darresha contended that these policies blatantly flout the CROWN Act. In response, school officials argued that the legislation doesn’t cover hair length regulations.
“I Want To See Their Policy Change”
“I want to see their policy change and stop being discriminatory against Black kids. I want to see my son out of ISS. I don’t want any other child that’s coming behind my son to go through this again,” she asserted.
Allie Booker, the attorney fighting the family’s cause, argues that such grooming rules appear to target Black students mainly.
Reminding everyone of the cultural significance, she explained how locs, a method where hair is coiled, braided, or twisted to give a rope-like facade, originated in Africa.
She said forcing students to alter such a hairstyle feels like stripping them of their cultural heritage.
Disciplinary Actions Against George Be Removed From His Records
The Texas Legislative Black Caucus has expressed its strong disapproval of the suspension.
They have not only demanded that the disciplinary actions against George be removed from his records but have also called for an urgent revision of the school’s code to align it with the new state law.
Texas state Rep. Ron Reynolds, the caucus chairman and one of the architects of the state’s CROWN Act addressed a letter to the school authorities, stating, “Without remedial action from you, this unacceptable situation will continue a dangerous precedent against students who may face undue disciplinary actions despite codified protections passed by state lawmakers.”
Barbers Hill High School Remains Tight-Lipped
While the school district and Barbers Hill High School remains tight-lipped, having not responded to media queries, the broader debate is unfolding.
The question remains: Can a school’s dress and grooming code supersede a state law to prevent hairstyle-based discrimination?
As Darryl George’s story gains traction, the eyes of the nation are fixed on Texas, anticipating how the state will navigate this pressing matter. Will they uphold the principles of the CROWN Act? Only time will tell.
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