Texas Dean Daryl George was suspended for weeks because of his hairstyle. Now, his family has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit

Darryl George’s family

Darresha George (left) is pictured with her son Darryl.



CNN

A black high school student Suspended Her locs hairstyle and her mother are suing Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the state’s attorney general for allegedly failing to enforce the state’s state law, a law that protects against hair discrimination.

Darryl George, a 17-year-old student at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Bellevue, Texas, has been suspended for more than three weeks because he frequently wears braids or ponytails — violations officials told the Barbers Hill Independent. School District Dress Code for Male Students

The policy does not prohibit students from wearing locs or braids, but it does place limits on hair length for male students, “hair may not be worn in a style that allows hair to extend below the top of the T-shirt collar. Below the eyebrows, or below the earlobes when pulled down.”

But a federal civil rights lawsuit filed Saturday in Texas Southern District Court contends Darryl’s suspension violates the state’s CROWN Act, a law that prohibits discrimination against hair styles and protective hairstyles such as locks and braids “generally or historically associated with race.”

It also accuses Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton of failing to enforce the law, which took effect on Sept. 1.

Plaintiffs seek an injunction against Abbott and Paxton, saying they “prevent the district or schools from exposing their students to disciplinary action and disciplinary action longer than necessary.”

CNN has reached out to Abbott and Paxton’s office, as well as attorneys for the Barbers Hill Independent School District, about the case.

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The filing comes after a few days to the district A Texas court has asked To clarify whether its dress code violates the CROWN Act.

“While we believe the new law does not restrict hair length, we ask the Texas judicial system to interpret it,” Barbours Hill Superintendent Greg Poole said in a statement Wednesday.

George’s family previously said Darryl was told he would be sent to a disciplinary alternative education program, also known as an alternative school, if he refused to cut his hair. That family told CNN Parts of him are intertwined with the threads of his grandfather and father, and they don’t want to sever them.

Michael Wike/AP

Darryl George, a 17-year-old junior, walks to Barbour’s Hill High School, Monday, Sept. 18, 2023, in Mont Bellevue, Texas.

This is not the first time the Barbers Hill Independent School District has faced legal action over the impact its hair policy has had on black students with locs.

In 2020, Sandy Arnold, her son DeAndre, and Cindy Bradford sued the school district, claiming the district’s grooming policies were racially discriminatory and violated their children’s First and Fourteenth Amendment rights, CNN reported. reported earlier. Both students wore locks and were asked to cut them to comply with the district’s policy on hair length.

DeAndre Arnold It was also said If he doesn’t cut his spot, he won’t be able to participate in his graduation ceremony. Instead of cutting his hair, Arnold transferred to a different school district.

Later that year, a preliminary injunction granted the district from enforcing the hair length policy against Bradford’s son. That case is ongoing, according to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which is representing the plaintiffs.

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In May, Abbott signed the State Government Act. Arnold told a CNN affiliate K.T.R.K The passage of the law at the time was the “most affirming sentiment”.

“After all this time, to get what we’ve been fighting for, it makes it all worth it because I know no one else in the state of Texas can do anything like this,” he said.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, two dozen states have enacted versions of the CROWN Act. California was the first to pass the measure in 2019. The Act for Nationhood Act failed.

Correction: A photo caption in an earlier version of this story gave the incorrect last name of Tarresha George.

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