A federal civil rights lawsuit has been filed against Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton, which alleges their failure to enforce a new law that aims to eliminate discrimination based on hairstyles. Here’s the full story.
A Controversial Suspension
This legal battle stemmed from the suspension of Darryl George, a 17-year-old Black high school student whose neatly tied dreadlocks caused controversy at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, Texas.
Darryl George served an in-school suspension on August 31st due to his dreadlocks.
School officials argued that his hairstyle violates the district’s dress code, saying that the locks extend beyond his eyebrows and ear lobes.
Forced to Sit for Eight Hours
Shockingly, during his suspension, George is allegedly forced to sit on a stool for eight hours and denied the free lunch he is entitled to.
The Mother Filed a Complaint
However, George’s mother, Darresha George, and the family’s attorney say that his hair is neatly tied in twisted dreadlocks on top of his head and does not infringe upon the dress code.
Unfairly Treated and Harassed
Darresha filed a lawsuit with the Texas Education Agency, saying that her son is being unfairly treated and harassed over his hair.
The lawsuit contends that Governor Abbott and Attorney General Paxton have neglected their duty to safeguard Darryl George’s constitutional rights.
These include protection against discrimination and violations of freedom of speech and expression.
The CROWN Act
The lawsuit claimed that the school violated the CROWN Act, an acronym for “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.”
Texas Embraced a Version of the Act
This legislation, enacted in Texas on September 1st, seeks to eradicate race-based hair discrimination.
The act prohibits employers and schools from penalizing students due to hair texture or protective hairstyles such as Afros, braids, dreadlocks, twists, or Bantu knots.
Texas is among the 24 states that have enacted a version of this act.
Allie Booker, the family’s attorney, argues that George’s chosen hairstyle does not pose any threat to learning or safety and disproportionately impacts Black males.
Drop the Hammer of Accountability
Candice Matthews, a spokesperson for the family, said, “Time to bring the fight to Barbers Hill ISD. We’re going to drop the hammer of accountability in the face of racism.”
“Technically, He Broke the Rules”
Several social media users expressed their thoughts on the incident.
One Reddit user wrote, “TECHNICALLY, he broke the rules, his dreads are longer than his earlobes. However, if a parent wants to take the time to twist/braid and pull it up like his hair is, which looks fantastic, it should be accepted.”
Diversity and Behavior Policy
Another user added, “You can bet that schools have a diversity and behavior policy; to respect diversity and individualism and expect people to be inclusive, all schools do yet punish students for hair, clothing brands, difference it’s an old fashioned system in the modern world.”
The Controversy Is Ridiculous
A third user commented, “Absolutely the controversy is ridiculous. The kid did nothing wrong and was glad the parents sued. Racism is wrong and unacceptable.”
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