Black Student Suspended Due to Locs Forced to Complete Schoolwork In Isolation Cubicle; Family Sues Texas Governor and Attorney for Neglect for Allegedly Turning a Blind Eye

Darryl George, a Black high school student from Texas, and his mother, Darresha George, are suing the state’s governor and attorney general, claiming that these officials failed to enforce a recent Texas law designed to prevent discrimination against people with race-associated hairstyles like Darryl’s locs, thereby violating his civil rights.

In the federal civil lawsuit obtained by Atlanta Black Star, lawyers representing the George family accuse Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton of turning a blind eye to Barbers Hill High School as it ignores the CROWN ACT and enforces its own distorted interpretation of its policy.

Texas High School Suspends Student for Wearing Locs a Week After Crown Act Passes In State
Darrly George was suspended because his hair violated the code at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, Texas. (Photo: YouTube screenshot/KHOU 11)

Attorneys argue that at the core of the lawsuit lies race and gender discrimination. They assert that the two elected officials failed to protect the minor from being singled out because he was Black and male.

The lawyers also allege in the complaint that his right to “Freedom of Expression” has been unlawfully challenged and unprotected, resulting in the 17-year-old experiencing “intentional infliction of emotional distress.”

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The lawsuit alleges that both defendants stood “idly by” and refused “to use their executive and police powers to enforce the CROWN ACT law against the peace and dignity of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S. C. § 200d, 1st Amendment Freedom of Speech/Freedom of Expression, and Due Process under the 14th Amendment.”

Their roles in their respective capacities are to “enforce the laws,” “provide equal protection,” and “ensure due process under the laws” for the Georges while ensuring that school districts and schools refrain from discrimination based on race and sex, adhering to the CROWN ACT.

The school’s policy states that male students’ hair should not extend below the eyebrows, earlobes, or the top of a T-shirt collar. Darryl, according to the family, always adhered to this policy by styling his hair with pins on his head in a barrel roll.

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The Barbers Hill Independent School District argued that its dress code didn’t conflict with the CROWN Act because it allowed protective hairstyles as long as the hair remained within the specified limits when it is down. BHISD officials also initiated a lawsuit in state court, seeking clarification on whether their dress code aligns with the CROWN Act.

The lawsuit highlights the district’s history of discrimination regarding Black hair, which had to be amended just a few years ago.

“This school district actually banned locs, braids, twists, and protective hairstyles as a whole before being sued in federal court in May of 2020. It was after that that BHISD amended their grooming policy (mid-stroke) and added the additional hair length restriction,” the lawsuit said, adding that the defendants’ lack of enforcement of the law has “resulted in further discrimination and abrogation of the rights of these Plaintiffs.”

Darryl has been placed on in-school suspension because he refuses to cut his hair. This means he is required to come to school and sit in a cubicle on a stool. As of Saturday, Sept. 23, he was still suspended — but that may change.

“The district does not intend to enhance the current disciplinary action against the student for the ongoing violation of its grooming policy pending the court’s ruling on whether the district’s policy is legal,” the district said in a statement to KTRK.

Also outlined in the George family’s complaint are a request for a temporary restraining order to stop Darryl’s suspension during the federal court proceedings, a petition for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, and all the costs associated with the suit, including reasonable attorney fees.”

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