A Black Texas high school student who was suspended over his locs just days after a state law went into effect prohibiting discrimination based on hairstyles is now being removed from his high school and sent to a disciplinary alternative education program.
According to a letter from the school principal that his family provided to the Associated Press, 18-year-old Darryl George will be sent to EPIC, an alternative school program, from Oct. 12 through Nov. 29 for “failure to comply” with multiple campus and classroom regulations.
The junior at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu has been serving an in-school suspension since Aug. 31.
Barbers Hill Principal Lance Murphy wrote that George has repeatedly violated the district's “previously communicated standards of student conduct."
The letter also said that George will be allowed to return to regular classroom instruction on Nov. 30 but will not be allowed to return to his high school's campus until then unless he's there to discuss his conduct with school administrators, the Associated Press reported.
The school said the teen’s hair violates its "Dress and Grooming Code" for male students, which states their 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."
But his mother, Darresha George, argued her son’s hair does not violate the dress code, being that it is neatly tied up in twisted dreadlocks on top of his head.
The family hired an attorney and recently filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against state officials for the ongoing suspension over his hairstyle, claiming it violates the state’s CROWN Act, which took effect Sept. 1.
The law, an acronym for “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” prohibits race-based hair discrimination and bars employers and schools from penalizing people because of hair texture or protective hairstyles including Afros, braids, dreadlocks, twists or Bantu knots.
This isn’t the first time the school has clashed with students over their dress code, the Associated Press said.
Barbers Hill officials told two Black male students they had to cut their dreadlocks in 2020. Their families sued the district, and a federal judge later ruled the district’s hair policy was discriminatory, according to the Associated Press. It was their case that helped motivate Texas lawmakers to approve the state’s CROWN Act.
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