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A black pupil was suspended for his coiffure. Now, his household is suing officers Categorical Occasions

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Darryl George, a 17-year-old pupil, pictured earlier than strolling throughout the road to enter Barbers Hill Excessive Faculty after serving a five-day in-school suspension for not reducing his hair on Monday, September 18, 2023, in Mont Belvieu. AP Photograph / Michael Wyke

The household of a black highschool pupil in Texas who was suspended over his dreadlocks filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on Saturday towards the state’s governor and attorney-general, alleging they didn’t implement a brand new legislation outlawing discrimination primarily based on hairstyles.

Darryl George, 17, a junior at Barbers Hill Excessive Faculty in Mont Belvieu, has been serving an in-school suspension since August 31. Officers with the Houston-area college say his dreadlocks fall under his eyebrows and ear lobes and violate the district’s gown code.

George’s mom, Darresha George, and the household’s legal professional deny {the teenager}’s coiffure violates the gown code, saying his hair is neatly tied in twisted dreadlocks on high of his head.

Darryl George’s supporters allege the continuing suspension by the Barbers Hill Unbiased Faculty District violates the state’s Crown Act, which took impact on September 1.


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Darryl George and his mother Darresha George (centre right) share words of encouragement before going into school. Photo / AP
Darryl George and his mom Darresha George (centre proper) share phrases of encouragement earlier than going into college. Photograph / AP

The lawsuit additionally alleges that Governor Greg Abbott and Legal professional-Common Ken Paxton, of their official duties, have failed to guard George’s constitutional rights towards discrimination and towards violations of his freedom of speech and expression. George “must be permitted to put on his hair within the method through which he wears it … as a result of the so-called impartial grooming coverage has no shut affiliation with studying or security and when utilized, disproportionately impacts black males,” Allie Booker, the household’s legal professional, wrote within the lawsuit.

Spokespeople for Abbott and Paxton, each Republicans, didn’t instantly return emails looking for touch upon Saturday.

The lawsuit seeks a brief restraining order to cease George’s in-school suspension whereas the case is in courtroom.

“Time to convey the combat to Barbers Hill ISD. We’re going to drop the hammer of accountability within the face of racism,” Candice Matthews, nationwide minister of politics for the New Black Panther Nation and a spokesperson for George’s household, mentioned in an announcement on Saturday.


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The lawsuit, filed in Houston federal courtroom by George’s mom, is the newest authorized motion taken associated to the suspension.

On Tuesday, Darresha George and her legal professional filed a proper grievance with the Texas Training Company, alleging Darryl George is being harassed and mistreated by college district officers over his hair and that his in-school suspension violates the Crown Act.

They allege that in his suspension, George is pressured to take a seat for eight hours on a stool and that he’s being denied the recent free lunch he’s certified to obtain. The company is investigating the grievance.

Darresha George mentioned she was not too long ago hospitalised after a sequence of panic and anxiousness assaults introduced on from stress associated to her son’s suspension.

On Wednesday, the varsity district filed its personal lawsuit in state courtroom asking a choose to make clear whether or not its gown code restrictions limiting pupil hair size for boys violates the Crown Act.

Barbers Hill Superintendent Greg Poole has mentioned he believes the gown code is authorized and that it teaches college students to evolve as a sacrifice benefiting everybody.

The varsity district mentioned it might not improve the present punishment towards Darryl George whereas it waits for a ruling on its lawsuit.

The Crown Act, an acronym for “Create a Respectful and Open World for Pure Hair”, is meant to ban race-based hair discrimination and bars employers and faculties from penalising folks due to hair texture or protecting hairstyles, together with afros, braids, dreadlocks, twists or Bantu knots. Texas is one in every of 24 states which have enacted a model of the Act.

A federal model handed within the US Home final 12 months, however was not profitable within the Senate.

Mother Darresha George shows the unsigned suspension form Darryl received after meeting with school officials on his return to Barbers Hill High School. Photo / AP
Mom Darresha George reveals the unsigned suspension kind Darryl obtained after assembly with college officers on his return to Barbers Hill Excessive Faculty. Photograph / AP

State Consultant Rhetta Bowers, who authored Texas’ model of the Crown Act, mentioned on Friday that George’s coiffure is protected by the brand new legislation, and he or she known as on the Barbers Hill college district to finish his suspension.


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“The Texas Crown Act was handed to stop conditions like this, and it is rather disappointing to see Barbers Hill ISD try to search out loopholes to skirt the legislation and perpetuate hair discrimination,” Bowers mentioned in an announcement.

George’s college beforehand clashed with two different black male college students over the gown code.

Barbers Hill officers advised cousins De’Andre Arnold and Kaden Bradford they needed to reduce their dreadlocks in 2020. The 2 college students’ households sued the varsity district in Could 2020, and a federal choose later dominated the district’s hair coverage was discriminatory. Their case, which garnered nationwide consideration and stays pending, helped spur Texas lawmakers to approve the state’s Crown Act legislation. Each college students withdrew from the varsity, with Bradford returning after the choose’s ruling.

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