Student suspended for dreadlocks despite new Texas non-discrimination law, reports say

A Texas high school is facing criticism after family members said a student was suspended over his dreadlocks, news outlets reported.

Darryl George, a junior at Barbers Hill High School, has been on in-school suspension for most of the school year, according to KTRK.

The suspension comes after Darryl was told his hairstyle violated the school’s dress code policy, his mom told the news outlet.

The Barbers Hill Independent School District dress code states, “Male students’ hair will not extend, at any time, below the eyebrows or below the ear lobes. Male students’ hair must not extend below the top of a t-shirt collar or be gathered or worn in a style that would allow the hair to extend below the top of a t-shirt collar, below the eyebrows, or below the ear lobes when let down.”

“As long as hair is not below the lobes, below the eyelids, hiding his eyes, on the nape of the neck or at the collar, he’s fine. And it doesn’t matter if he twists his locks up,” attorney Allie Booker told KHOU.

Darryl’s mother told CNN the school told him he had to cut his hair. When he didn’t, he was put on in-school suspension, according to CNN.

McClatchy News reached out to Barbers Hill Independent School District on Sept. 12 but did not immediately hear back.

“I know he’s upset, and he feels terrible about it,” his mother, Darresha George told KTRK.

Darryl’s suspension came the same week the CROWN Act went into effect in Texas. The new law prohibits discrimination based on a person’s hair texture or protective hairstyle such as locs and braids, according to CNN.

In 2020, the school faced a lawsuit when another Barbers Hill high school student was told he wouldn’t be allowed to walk the stage for graduation if he didn’t cut his dreadlocks, CNN reported.

“Absolutely zero excuse for this school district that knows the policy to do this all over again,” Rep. Ron Reynolds, D-Missouri City, told KTRK. “It feels like deja vu.”

Local activists are calling for the school to end the suspension and say if the school does not, they will ask the federal government to withhold funding from the district, KHOU reported.

“I am infuriated to witness the continued discrimination against Black students at nearby Barbers Hill High School. Just seven days after the Texas CROWN Act became the law of the land, Barbers Hill ISD leaders are shamefully persisting in their crusade against students of color,” Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis said in a statement shared on Facebook.

A district spokesperson told KTRK the hair length rule “is not in conflict with the CROWN Act.”

Darresha George said her son will not cut his hair, and they will continue to fight the policy, CNN reported.

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