Black Student's Suspension Over Locs Doesn't Violate CROWN Act, Judge Rules

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A judge has ruled that a Black student's suspension over his locs hairstyle doesn't violate the CROWN Act.

On Thursday (February 22), State District Judge Chap Cain III said the dressing and grooming policies set by Barbers Hill Independent School District in Texas don't violate the CROWN Act, which prohibits race-based hair discrimination at school and work, per NBC News.

The ruling comes after Barbers Hill High School student Darryl George was initially pulled from the classroom in August 2023 after school officials said his locs were out of compliance, falling below his eyebrows and ear lobes. George's family argued his punishment violated the CROWN Act, which became law in Texas in September of last year. The school claimed that the CROWN Act doesn't address hair length.

George, a junior, has remained in in-school suspension or at an off-site disciplinary program since August.

His family filed a formal complaint with the Texas Education Agency and a federal civil rights lawsuit against the state’s governor and attorney general along with the school district. The district also filed a suit in state district court requesting it clarify whether its dress code policy on hair length violates the CROWN Act.

Thursday's ruling aligned with the district's claims that its policy doesn't discriminate against George for his locs, but merely prohibits him from wearing them "at a length that exceeds the dress code.”

“The CROWN Act does not render unlawful those portions of Barbers Hill’s” dress code, Cain said Thursday.

Candice Matthews, a spokesperson for George's family, said the verdict left George in tears.

“All because of my hair?” George said, according to Matthews. “I can’t get my education because of my hair. I can’t be around my peers and enjoy my junior year because of my hair.” Matthews said the family has vowed not to “lay down. They would continue to fight.”

George's family is planning to appeal the decision.

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