Despite the passage of a new state law that forbids such discrimination, Darryl George, a Black high school student in Texas, has been suspended from Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu because of his dreadlocks. This is an astonishing example of racial prejudice in the educational system. In response, George’s family sued Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton in federal court under the civil rights act, claiming that they had disregarded a new rule that forbade discrimination based on hairstyles. This article examines the incident’s wider significance, the legal ramifications, and the case’s history.

The Context

Since August 31st, Darryl George, a junior at Barbers Hill High School, has been placed on in-school suspension. George’s dreadlocks, which hang below his eyebrows and earlobes, are allegedly in violation of the district’s dress code, according to school officials. George’s family and legal representative counter that his twisted, well-tied dreadlocks do not go against the dress code.

In addition, the lawsuit claims that the Barbers Hill Independent School District’s continuous suspension is in violation of the CROWN Act, which went into effect on September 1st. The goal of the CROWN Act, which stands for “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” is to end discrimination against people of color because of their hair type or protective hairstyles, such as twists, Afros, dreadlocks, braids, or Bantu knots.

Lawsuit and Accusations

Not content with just the school district, George’s family has taken legal action against Governor Abbott and Attorney General Paxton for allegedly failing to defend George’s constitutional rights against discriminatory practices and infringements on his freedom of speech and expression. According to Allie Booker, the family’s attorney, George “should be permitted to wear his hair in the manner in which he wears it… because the so-called neutral grooming policy has no close association with learning or safety and when applied, disproportionately impacts Black males.”

Requests for comments have not yet received a response from the attorneys general, Paxton, or governor Abbott.

While the case is pending in court, the lawsuit requests a temporary restraining order to stop George’s in-school punishment. George’s activists and friends have come together in support of him, promising to fight prejudice and advance the pursuit of justice. Among them is Candice Matthews, national minister of politics for the New Black Panther Nation.

The Wider Consequences

In the Barbers Hill Independent School District, this instance is not unique. De’Andre Arnold and Kaden Bradford, two more Black male students, received instructions to chop their dreadlocks in 2020. Due to the widespread attention this lawsuit garnered, a federal judge declared the district’s hair regulation to be discriminatory. The CROWN Act law in Texas was approved largely due to the efforts of Arnold and Bradford.

George’s hairdo is protected by the new law, according to state representative Rhetta Bowers, who wrote Texas’ version of the CROWN Act. She also requests that the Barbers Hill school board lift George’s penalty. The verdict in the action may have an impact on how Texas’s schools interpret and implement the CROWN Act, creating a precedent for the defense of students’ freedoms to wear their hair in ways that are culturally relevant.