A federal civil rights complaint was filed on Saturday by the family of a Black high school student in Texas who was expelled because of his dreadlocks. The lawsuit claims that the governor and attorney general of the state were negligent in their enforcement of new legislation that prohibits discrimination based on hairstyles.
Since August 31st, Darryl George, a 17-year-old student at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, has been on an in-school suspension. His dreadlocks, according to officials of the school in the Houston region, are out of line with the district’s dress code since they extend below his brow and ear lobes.
Darresha George, George’s mother, and the family’s lawyer dispute that the teen’s haircut is inappropriate given the dress code, claiming that it is neatly coiled into dreadlocks on his head.
Supporters of Darryl George assert that the state’s CROWN Act, which went into effect on September 1, is being broken by the prolonged suspension by the Barbers Hill Independent School District.
The lawsuit also claims that in the course of their official duties, Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton failed to defend George’s constitutional rights against discrimination and against infringements on his freedom of speech. According to Allie Booker, the family’s lawyer, George “should be allowed 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.”
Republicans Abbott and Paxton’s spokespeople did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Saturday.
While the dispute is in court, the lawsuit asks for a temporary restraining order to prevent George’s in-school suspension.
It’s time to battle it out at Barbers Hill ISD. In a statement released on Saturday, Candice Matthews, national minister of politics for the New Black Panther Nation and a representative for George’s family, said, “We’re going to drop the hammer of accountability in the face of racism.
The most recent legal action pertaining to the suspension was the lawsuit that George’s mother filed in federal court in Houston.
The Texas Education Agency received a written complaint from Darresha George and her lawyer on Tuesday, stating that Darryl George has been subjected to harassment and unfair treatment by school district employees because of his hair and that his in-school suspension violates the CROWN Act.
They claim that George is being forced to sit on a stool for eight hours while he is suspended and that he is not being given the hot complimentary lunch that he is entitled to. The organization is looking into the issue.
According to Darresha George, she was recently admitted to the hospital following a string of panic and anxiety attacks brought on by the stress of her son’s suspension.
The school district filed its own complaint in state court on Wednesday, 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.
Greg Poole, the superintendent of Barbers Hill, has stated that he thinks the dress code is appropriate and that it encourages pupils to follow rules as a cost-benefit analysis.
The school system declared that while it awaits the outcome of its case, it would not toughen the punishment now meted out to Darryl George.
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 regulation was discriminatory when the families of the two students sued the school district in May 2020. Their case, which received widespread media coverage and is still unresolved, encouraged Texas lawmakers to pass the state’s CROWN Act law. Both pupils left the school, with Bradford coming back following the judge’s decision.