Texas Judge Rules Against Student in Hair Discrimination Case

George 1

For his refusal to alter his hairstyle does not violate the state’s newly enacted law prohibiting race-based hair discrimination Texas judge stated . A recent ruling by a Texas judge has stirred controversy as it concludes that the months-long disciplinary action against Darryl George, a Black high school student.

George, 18, has been absent from his regular classes at Barbers Hill High School in the Houston area since August 31st, as the school district contends that the length of his hair violates its dress code policy.

The district filed a lawsuit arguing that George’s hairstyle, consisting of tied and twisted locs, falls afoul of the policy as it extends beyond his shirt collar, eyebrows, or earlobes when released. Although the district claims other students with locs adhere to the length policy, Judge Chap Cain III ruled in favor of the school district, stating that exemptions for protected hairstyles under the CROWN Act, including locs, are not explicitly outlined in the law. He emphasized that judicial bodies should refrain from legislative intervention.

The CROWN Act, implemented in September, prohibits race-based hair discrimination and safeguards individuals from penalties based on hair texture or protective hairstyles such as Afros, braids, locs, twists, or Bantu knots. Despite this, the judge suggested that George pursue redress through the state Legislature or the school board.

George’s family has filed a formal complaint with the Texas Education Agency and initiated a federal civil rights lawsuit against various parties, including Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton, asserting their failure to enforce the CROWN Act. Allie Booker, George’s attorney, intends to seek an injunction to halt George’s punishment and plans to appeal the judge’s decision.

Throughout the ordeal, George has maintained that wearing locs is an expression of his cultural identity and heritage. Despite his optimism prior to the ruling, George and his mother expressed dismay afterward.

The Barbers Hill school district defended its dress code policy, asserting that it does not contravene the CROWN Act as the law does not address hair length. The district’s attorneys underscored that their evidence consisted solely of testimony from the superintendent supporting the policy.

This ruling echoes a similar legal battle in May 2020 when two other students challenged Barbers Hill’s hair policy in a federal lawsuit. While one student returned following a temporary injunction, the case remains pending.

The decision has elicited widespread criticism from lawmakers and activists, with Democratic State Representative Ron Reynolds vowing to introduce legislation explicitly protecting hair length under the CROWN Act.

In response, Superintendent Greg Poole rebuffed allegations of racism, maintaining that the dress code promotes safety and academic achievement. However, critics argue that such policies stifle individuality and perpetuate systemic discrimination.