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Black Student Suspended for Hairstyle Faces Transfer to Alternative Education Program

A Black student named Darryl George, 18, faced in-school suspension for over a month in Texas due to his dreadlocks. He has been informed that he will be removed from Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu and transferred to an alternative education program called EPIC from October 12 to November 29 for multiple violations of campus and classroom regulations. According to the principal, George repeatedly breached the district’s established standards of student conduct. A letter from the principal stated that George can resume regular classroom instruction on November 30 but cannot return to the high school campus until then unless it’s for a discussion about his conduct with school administrators.

The Barbers Hill Independent School District has a dress code prohibiting male students from having hair extending below certain lengths and requires that all students’ hair be clean, well-groomed, geometrical, and not an unnatural color. The school does not mandate uniforms. George’s mother and their attorney argue that his hairstyle does not violate the dress code. The family filed a formal complaint with the Texas Education Agency and a federal civil rights lawsuit against the state’s governor and attorney general, claiming they neglected to enforce a new law, the CROWN Act, which came into effect on September 1. The CROWN Act aims to prevent race-based hair discrimination and prohibits penalizing individuals in schools or workplaces for natural hairstyles like Afros, braids, dreadlocks, twists, or Bantu knots.

The family alleges that George’s suspension and subsequent discipline violate the CROWN Act. They cite a federal version of the law that passed in the U.S. House but was not successful in the Senate. In response, the school district filed a lawsuit in state district court seeking clarification on whether its dress code restrictions on boys’ hair length violate the CROWN Act. This lawsuit was filed in Chambers County, east of Houston.

This is not the first time Barbers Hill High School has faced controversy regarding its dress code. In 2020, the school clashed with two other Black male students, De’Andre Arnold and Kaden Bradford, over the requirement to cut their dreadlocks. Their families sued the district, and a federal judge ruled the school’s hair policy was discriminatory. Arnold and Bradford withdrew from the school, with Bradford returning after the judge’s ruling.

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