Home » News » Texas school legally punished Black student over hairstyle, judge rules

By Juan A. Lozanou, AP, published on February 22, 2024

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ANAHUAC, Texas (AP) — A Black high school student’s monthslong punishment by his Texas school district for refusing to change his hairstyle does not violate a new state law that prohibits race-based hair discrimination, a judge ruled on Thursday.

Darryl George, 18, is a junior and has not been in his regular classes at his Houston-area high school since Aug. 31 because his school district, Barbers Hill, says he is violating its policy limiting the length of boys’ hair.

The district filed a lawsuit arguing George’s long hair, which he wears in tied and twisted locs on top of his head, violates its dress code policy because it would fall below his shirt collar, eyebrows or earlobes when let down. The district has said other students with locs comply with the length policy.

After just a few hours of testimony in Anahuac, state District Judge Chap Cain III ruled in favor of the school district, saying its ongoing discipline of George over the length of his hair is legal under the CROWN Act. For most of the school year, George has either served in-school suspension at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu or spent time at an off-site disciplinary program.

“We appreciate the court giving clarity to the meaning of the CROWN Act,” said Sara Leon, an attorney for the school district.

The school district did not offer any witnesses to testify before the ruling, instead only submitting evidence that included an affidavit from the district’s superintendent defending the dress code policy.

Dozens of people turned out for the one-day trial in Anahuac, outside Houston, where George and his mother, Darresha George, had arrived expressing optimism.

Darryl George said “it was just sad” that the school district was punishing him over his hairstyle.


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