Stirring outrage and raising questions about the boundaries of individual expression and school policies, an 18-year-old Black student in Texas found himself suspended for wearing a natural hairstyle deemed an “expression of cultural pride.”
A Teen’s Struggle
Darryl George, an 18-year-old junior at Barbers Hill High School in Texas, recently found himself at the center of a controversy concerning his natural hairstyle, leading to his suspension and an impending transfer to an alternative school.
Hair Discrimination Saga
The high school student’s ordeal began when his decision to wear locs, a natural hairstyle that he considers an “expression of cultural pride,” resulted in his suspension for over a month, based on allegations of various infractions.
Infractions and Suspensions
These infractions include causing disruptions, failing to follow staff directives, violating the school’s tardiness policy, and breaching the dress and grooming code.
The School District’s Retaliation
Recently, Darryl received a notice that he would be placed in a disciplinary alternative education program until November 29, an action that his family perceives as retaliation by the school district.
An attorney representing the George family expressed this sentiment, noting that the school’s recent actions were an attempt at retaliation rather than a genuine response to Darryl’s alleged infractions.
The transfer to the alternative school has sparked fear in Darryl, who remains resolute about not cutting his hair, despite the challenges he faces.
Beyond the Classroom
Darryl’s story is not an isolated incident.
It underscores a broader issue concerning the legality of disciplining students based on their hairstyles, while also raising questions about the extent of protection offered by recently enacted laws, such as the CROWN Act (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair).
The CROWN Act
The CROWN Act, which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, is a law that aims to combat race-based hair discrimination.
Legal Battle Unfolds
The George family filed a federal lawsuit on Saturday in the Texas Southern District Court, arguing that Darryl’s suspension violated Texas’s CROWN Act.
Temporary Restraining Order
The Plaintiffs are also seeking a temporary restraining order against Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton in an attempt to stop the school district from “exposing their students to disciplinary punishment and disciplinary measures due to locs, braid, twists and other protective styles that are alleged to be or that are longer than the District or schools’ length requirement”.
Timing is Everything
The timing of Darryl’s suspension, just before the statewide implementation of the CROWN Act on September 1, highlights the complexity of enforcing such laws and the need for clarity regarding grooming policies.
A Nationwide Issue
While Texas was the 24th state to implement a version of the CROWN Act, the legislation has been proposed in 20 other states and Washington, D.C., and adopted in 24 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Darryl’s experience calls attention to the ongoing need to address and rectify hair discrimination and related issues in educational institutions.
The Ongoing Fight for Equity in Education and Beyond
The case remains a vivid example of the larger struggle against racial and cultural bias that many individuals like Darryl face, emphasizing the necessity of broader awareness and policy change.
The post Texas School’s Suspension of Black Student for Natural Hair Sparks Nationwide Outcry first appeared on Pulse of Pride
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Dean Drobot. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.