Texas Judge Upholds Suspension Of Black Student Over Dreadlocks

A Texas judge sided with Barbers Hill Independent School District, ruling that the school did not discriminate against Darryl George, an 18-year-old black student, for his dreadlocks.

Last August, George was suspended for violating the school’s dress code, sparking a legal battle.

The judge’s decision came after several hours of testimony, stating that the school did not violate the state’s anti-discrimination law concerning hairstyles.

George’s family plans to appeal the ruling while George remains on suspension, excluded from regular classes.

The school’s dress code specifies hair length, prohibiting it from extending below the top of a T-shirt collar, eyebrows, or earlobes. Despite pressure to comply, George refused to cut his braided dreadlocks, citing their cultural significance.

His mother, Darresha George, filed a complaint under the Crown Act, a state law against hair-based discrimination, which Texas passed last year.

Barbers Hill High School Superintendent Dr. Greg Poole defended the school’s stance, arguing that the Crown Act didn’t address hair length explicitly. George’s defiance led to multiple disciplinary actions, including in-school suspension and off-campus programs.

His mother expressed concern over the discomfort George faced during his suspension, highlighting the physical strain of sitting on a stool for extended periods.

This isn’t the first time Barbers Hill ISD faced controversy over its dress code and black students. In 2020, De’Andre Arnold and Kaden Bradford were also required to cut their dreadlocks, resulting in a lawsuit.

A federal judge ruled the district’s policy discriminatory. While a federal version of the Crown Act passed in the House, it failed to progress in the Senate, leaving the issue unresolved at a national level.

Despite legal setbacks, George’s case underscores ongoing debates about cultural expression, discrimination, and the intersection of school policies with societal norms.