Texas Judge Rules School Legally Punished Black Student Over Locs

A Texas judge ruled Thursday that a Houston-area school district legally punished 18-year-old student Darryl George, who was suspended multiple times for wearing his hair in locs.

Administrators at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu removed George from class on August 31, citing a dress code that limits the length of boys’ hair and has made him serve either in-school suspension or participate in a disciplinary program off campus since that time.

George’s legal team said that the student’s punishment over his hair length was a violation of the CROWN Act — or Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair — which prohibits race-based hair discrimination in schools and businesses. However, the district argued that the suspension was over a violation of school policy and that the CROWN Act “says nothing about hair length.”

“The issue is simple: we have many students who wear locs and comply with male hair-length policy,” David Bloom, Barbers Hill ISD’s Director of Communications, told Rolling Stone in January. “We have ONE who does not.”

“I started my dreads for a reason, and that’s just to feel close to my people … to feel my ancestors,” George told reporters prior to the hearing. “It just makes me feel angry, very angry … that throughout all these years, throughout all the fighting for the Black History that we’ve done, that we still have to do this again, and again, and again. It’s ridiculous.”

The hearing was scheduled Thursday over the matter, with one of the CROWN Act’s co-authors, state Rep. Ron Reynolds, testifying for George’s side, saying that “length was inferred” when writing the bill. 

Despite that, the judge found that the school district legally punished George for not adhering to the school’s hair-length policy and dress code and that the district didn’t violate the CROWN Act, the Associated Press reports.

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“All I want to do is go to school and be a model student,” George wrote in an affidavit prior to the hearing. “I am being harassed by school officials and treated like a dog.”

“His locs represent his roots, represent his soul, his ancestors, his legacy,” Darryl’s mother, Darresha George, told Rolling Stone last year. “It’s his culture. He not only has his locs in his hair, he has his ancestors’ hair weaved into the ends of his hair. So cutting that off is cutting them out of his life. And that’s that’s not fair to ask somebody to do.”

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