A school in Texas has suspended a Black student over his dreadlocks, and now his family has filed a lawsuit saying the CROWN Act protects the hairstyle. Here’s the whole story.
Suspended Over a Hairstyle
Darryl George is a junior at Barbers Hill High School in Texas. He was suspended from school over his dreadlock hairstyle. However, his family says he is protected by the recently passed state’s CROWN Act.
The CROWN Act Should Protect Him
CROWN is an acronym for Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. It was passed to protect people of color from “race-based hair discrimination” in Texas schools, meaning George’s deadlocks should be protected, according to his mother.
Family Files a Lawsuit
George’s family filed a lawsuit against Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton for “not enforcing the CROWN Act.” The lawsuit alleges they have failed to protect the Black student’s rights.
Stop Suspension During Legal Battle
The family and their attorney hope to get a restraining order to stop Darryl’s in-school suspension while they fight the case in court.
The teen’s mother, Darresha George, said her son was subjected to “improper discipline and abrogation of both his Constitutional and state rights” over his hairstyle.
She claimed he sits on a “small stool for eight hours in a cubicle” during the in-school suspension, and when he comes home, he complains of a backache from how he sits all day.
The Punishment Is Abusive
One person on X said the student’s in-school suspension punishment sounded like he was “in lock-up” at a public school, and another person called it “abuse.”
The Student Is Frustrated
Darresha said her son comes home from school “frustrated, outraged, and aggravated.” She feels the punishment is affecting her son’s mental and physical health.
It is Darryl’s first year at the high school. His mother claims they never received pushback over her son’s hairstyle at the school he previously attended.
The School Has Rules
Officials from the school district said Darryl’s dreadlocks “violate the district’s dress code” because they fall below his eyebrows and ear lobes. However, his mother said he keeps his hair “neatly tied in twisted dreadlocks on top of his head.”
School Seeks Legal Help
The school district’s superintendent said the school’s dress code is legal. However, they filed their own lawsuit asking a judge to confirm whether their dress code violates the CROWN Act.
His Hair Represents His Culture
Darresha George said her son has “his dad’s hair, his stepdad’s hair, and his brother’s hair actually swen into his locks.” She claims the hairstyle represents “his culture and spirituality” and doesn’t want her son to be punished.
Support for the Student
One of the authors of the CROWN Act, State Representative Ron Reynolds, stepped up and offered his support to the family.
Reynolds said the Texas Legislative Black Caucus would stand behind the George family. He said, “We’re going to protect him. They’re not in it alone.”
Some people on social media claimed the lawsuit was “just about wanting money,” but others supported Darryl George’s dreadlocks. One person claimed the school was “taking away a child’s right to learn like everyone else.”
Another person said the school’s actions were “definitely racially motivated,” and they were “clearly trying to flex their control over Black students.” This person called the school’s behavior “disgusting.”
Focus on Quality Education
One commenter said, “Hair shouldn’t define a student’s education” and that it was time for schools to focus on things that matter, such as “quality education.”
Not the First Student to Face Backlash Over Hairstyle
Darryl George isn’t the first student to be told to cut his dreadlocks by Barbers Hill High School.
In 2020, the school told two cousins they had to cut their dreadlocks, and their families sued the school district. In that court case, a federal judge ruled that the school’s policy was “discriminatory.”
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Source: ABC News