Texas judge rules high school can legally punish this Black student for his hairstyle

Texas student Darryl George
CBS News This Morning/YouTube

In Texas, a judge has ruled that a high school is legally allowed to discipline a Black student for his hairstyle, which violates the dress code.

According to the Associated Press, Darryl George, an 18-year-old junior at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, has been serving in-school suspension since August because he refuses to cut off his hair. George wears his hair in tied and twisted locs on top of his head, but if worn down, it would be below his shirt collar, which is against the school dress code. The school district eventually filed a lawsuit over the dispute.

After about three hours of testimony, the judge ruled in favor of the school district, saying that a hair length policy doesn’t violate the state’s CROWN Act, which prohibits race-based hair discrimination and is meant to stop schools and employers from disciplining people because of hair texture or protective hairstyles. The law doesn’t say anything about hair length. It went into effect in September 2023. In his ruling, the judge said courts should not try to rewrite legislation.

Greg Poole, the school district’s superintendent, said in a statement that the “CROWN Act does not give students unlimited self-expression.”

“The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that affirmative action is a violation of the 14th Amendment and we believe the same reasoning will eventually be applied to the CROWN Act,” his statement continued. “High expectations have helped make Barbers Hill ISD a state leader in all things, and high standards at school benefit all ethnicities. Falsely claiming racism is worse than racism and undermines efforts to address actions that violate constitutionally protected rights.”

George, who plans to appeal the ruling, told CNN before the trial that he believes the school’s dress code policy on hair length is “just there to attack people” with protective hairstyles like locs and braids.

“They don’t pick on anybody else but me,” he said.