3 Months Later, Black Student Still Being Punished for His Hair

Family has sued Texas leaders and the school district, claiming violations of the CROWN Act
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2023 9:34 AM CST
Black Student Suspended Again Because of His Hair
Darryl George is seen outside Barbers Hill High School after serving a 5-day in-school suspension for not cutting his hair, Sept. 18, 2023, in Mont Belvieu.   (AP Photo/Michael Wyke, File)

Darryl George has received a second in-school suspension following three months of disciplinary action over his choice to wear his hair in locs. The Texas high school student who was suspended in August for violating Barbers Hill High School's dress code, then sent to an off-campus disciplinary program for 30 days beginning in October, returned to regular classes Tuesday only to receive another in-school suspension, this time for 13 days, per CNN. "While in class, he was told he was in violation of the school dress code policy for not cutting his hair and was again referred to in-school suspension," family rep Candice Matthews said in a statement, per the New York Times.

The 18-year-old's family has sued Texas' governor and attorney general and the school district in federal court, arguing George's hairstyle breaks no rules and is protected under the newly enacted CROWN Act, which prohibits race-based hair discrimination and bars employers and schools from punishing individuals because of their hairstyles. George wears his hair in neat locs pinned to his head. School officials say this violates a dress code policy stating a male student's hair cannot extend below the eyebrows or below the earlobes. Their argument is that George's hair would extend beyond those points if it were let down. They say the CROWN Act doesn't address hair length, per the Guardian.

Matthews said the school district was exploiting the act's "vague language" to "push their racial discrimination agenda." State Rep. Ron Reynolds, chair of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, who likewise accuses the school of racial discrimination, said the CROWN Act was meant to protect hairstyles "regardless of length" and that he would introduce an amendment in the next legislative session to make that clear. In the meantime, George, who's spent more than 80% of his junior year outside of his regular classroom, will be separated from his classmates. He was told Tuesday he could return to regular classes only if he "corrects his dress code violation," per the Times. "I don't care what tactics they try," George's mom, Darresha George, tells CNN. "We're not backing down." (More dreadlocks stories.)

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