A Black student in Texas was informed on Thursday that he will be expelled from his high school and placed in a disciplinary alternative education programme after spending more than a month of in-school suspension due to his dreadlocks.
Junior at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, Darryl George, 18, has been on administrative leave since August 31. The principal stated in a letter delivered to the family on Wednesday that he would be moved to EPIC, an alternative school programme, from October 12 through November 29 for “failure to comply” with numerous campus and classroom rules.
According to Principal Lance Murphy, George has regularly broken the district’s “previously communicated standards of student conduct.” The letter further states that George will be permitted to resume regular classroom teaching on Nov. 30 but won’t be permitted to visit his high school’s campus until then unless he needs to meet with administrators to talk about his behaviour.
According to the student handbook, male students in the Barbers Hill Independent School District are not allowed to have hair that extends past their earlobes, eyebrows, or the top of their T-shirt collar. All students must also have neat, well-groomed hair that is geometric in shape and not of an odd colour or variation. There is no uniform policy at the institution.
Darresha George, George’s mother, and the family’s lawyer dispute that the teen’s haircut is inappropriate for the occasion. The family accused the state’s governor and attorney general of failing to enforce a new rule banning discrimination based on haircuts and filed a formal complaint with the Texas Education Agency and a federal civil rights lawsuit against them last month.
The family claims that the state’s CROWN Act, which went into force on September 1, was broken by George’s suspension and subsequent punishment. The law, which stands for “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” forbids employers and educational institutions from penalising people for their hair texture or protective hairstyles like Afros, braids, dreadlocks, twists, or Bantu knots. It also prohibits race-based hair discrimination.
Last year, a federal version was approved by the U.S. House but failed in the Senate.
The school district also filed a complaint in state district court, requesting the judge to rule on whether the CROWN Act is violated by its dress code requirements that limit the length of student hair for boys. East of Houston, in Chambers County, is where the case was filed.
Two other Black male pupils from George’s school and him previously fought over the dress code.
De’Andre Arnold and Kaden Bradford’s cousins were ordered by Barbers Hill officials to trim their dreadlocks in 2020. A federal judge later determined that the district’s hair policy was discriminatory when their families filed a lawsuit against the district in May 2020. Their ongoing legal dispute encouraged Texas lawmakers to pass the CROWN Act. Both pupils left the school, with Bradford coming back following the judge’s decision.