A Texas School’s Punishment Of A Black Student For Wearing His Hair In Locs Is Going To Trial

Aiexpress – A trial has been ordered by a judge on Wednesday to decide whether a Black high school student in the Houston area can continue to face repercussions from his district for refusing to alter his hairstyle, which he and his family assert is safeguarded by a recent state law.

Darryl George, an 18-year-old student, hasn’t set foot in his usual classroom at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu since August 31. Instead, he has been absent from school for an extended period.

The school district claims that George’s long hair, styled in neatly tied and twisted locs on top of his head, goes against their dress code, which sets limits on hair length for boys. According to the district, other students with locs adhere to the length regulations.

George, who is a junior, expressed on Wednesday that he has been experiencing stress and frustration due to what he perceives as unjust punishment. However, he expressed gratitude for the upcoming opportunity to have his day in court.

“I’m grateful that our voices are being acknowledged as well. It brings me joy to see progress being made and to know that we are overcoming this,” expressed George following the hearing in Anahuac. He stood alongside his mother, Darresha George, as they shared their sentiments.


A trial date of February 22 has been scheduled by State District Judge Chap Cain III in Anahuac for a lawsuit filed by the school district. The lawsuit questions whether the dress code restrictions, which limit the length of boys’ hair, violate the CROWN Act. The CROWN Act is a new law in Texas that came into effect in September, aiming to prohibit hair discrimination based on race. It prevents employers and schools from penalizing individuals due to their hair texture or protective hairstyles, such as Afros, braids, locs, twists, or Bantu knots.

Darresha George expressed her disappointment as the judge did not take into account the option of granting a temporary restraining order. This order would have temporarily halted her son’s punishment until the trial next month.

“Why are you messing with my son? He’s 18 years old and wants to go to school, to get his education,” she exclaimed.

Darryl George, in an affidavit filed last week, expressed his experience of enduring “cruel treatment.”

“I have a deep love for my hair. It holds a special significance for me, representing not only my personal identity but also my inner strength,” expressed George. “My sole desire is to attend school and excel as a dedicated student. Unfortunately, I find myself facing constant harassment from school authorities, as if I am being treated with no dignity or respect.”

The school district spokesperson chose not to speak with reporters following the hearing and did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Barbers Hill Superintendent Greg Poole recently addressed the issue of the district’s alleged violation of the CROWN Act in a paid ad that appeared in the Houston Chronicle, ABC13’s news partner. According to Poole, the district firmly denies any wrongdoing.

In his advertisement, Poole supported his district’s policy by stating that districts with a traditional dress code have a safer environment and achieve higher academic performance. He also emphasized that conforming to certain standards is an essential aspect of being an American.

In a statement, Poole emphasized that the main objective of the education system should not be compromised. He stated that succumbing to political pressure or reacting to inaccurate media reports would only serve lesser goals that ultimately have a negative impact on students.

State Representatives Rhetta Bowers and Ron Reynolds, the co-authors of Texas’ version of the CROWN Act, were present at the hearing on Wednesday. They affirmed that the recently enacted state law indeed safeguards Darryl George’s chosen hairstyle.

According to Bowers, the district is unfairly penalizing Darryl George solely because he chooses to wear his hair in a protective style. Bowers argues that this hairstyle does not harm anyone and does not cause any distractions in the classroom.

George’s family has taken legal action against Gov. Greg Abbott, Attorney General Ken Paxton, and the school district for their alleged failure to enforce the CROWN Act. They have filed a formal complaint with the Texas Education Agency and initiated a federal civil rights lawsuit. Currently, the lawsuit is being heard by a federal judge in Galveston, Texas.

In a federal case in May 2020, two additional students questioned Barbers Hill’s hair policy for students. Both students dropped out of high school, but one came back after a federal judge issued a temporary injunction. The judge said there was “a substantial likelihood” that the student’s rights to free speech and not being subjected to racial discrimination would be violated if he was not allowed to return to campus. That case is still going on.

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