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.
Texas Student Suspended Over Locs Hairstyle
In a move that challenges the recently implemented Texas CROWN Act, Darryl, a junior at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, has been suspended for an extended period due to his loc hairstyle, which apparently breaches the district’s dress code.
School’s Dress Code Clashes With New Legislation
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.
Grooming Policy Under Fire
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.”
Mother Speaks Out Against Her Son’s Suspension
Darryl’s mother revealed that the school scolded her son for his locs and his frayed jeans. While he was given the option to change his clothing, the school maintained that he must cut his hair.
Insult to Injury
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.
CROWN Act and the Grooming Policy Dilemma
Darryl’s mother contended that these policies blatantly flout the CROWN Act. In response, school officials argued that the legislation doesn’t cover hair length regulations.
Her Son’s Right to Wear Locs
“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.
The attorney fighting the family’s cause, argues that such grooming rules appear to target Black students mainly.
Cultural Significance of Locs at the Heart of the Debate
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.
Texas Legislative Black Caucus Demands Action
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.
An Urgent Call for Action
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.”
Silence From School Authorities
While the school district and Barbers Hill High School remain tight-lipped, having not responded to media queries, the broader debate is unfolding.
Dress Code vs. State Law
The pivotal question remains: Can a school’s dress and grooming code supersede a state law intended to prevent hairstyle-based discrimination?
Darryl’s Case Draws National Attention
As Darryl’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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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock /Roman Samborskyi. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.