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Black Student’s Suspension Over Hairstyle Sparks Legal Battle with Texas Government

Darryl George, an 18-year-old Black student at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, Texas, suspended over his hairstyle, is set to face the Texas government in court on February 22.

The suspension, which began on August 31, has led to legal actions and discussions surrounding the state’s Crown Act.

Suspension and Alternative School Placement

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Darryl George’s suspension resulted in his removal from Barbers Hill High School and placement in the EPIC alternative school program.

According to a letter from Principal Lance Murphy, the suspension was attributed to Darryl’s “failure to comply” with various campus and classroom regulations.

Repeated Violations and Return to School

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Principal Murphy noted that Darryl George had repeatedly violated the school district’s established standards of student conduct.

Suspended Till November 30th

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The letter stated that although Darryl would be allowed to return to regular classroom instruction on November 30, he would not be permitted back on the high school’s campus until then, except for discussions related to his conduct with school administrators.

Hairstyle and Protection Under the Crown Act

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Darryl George and his family have firmly asserted their refusal to cut his locs, which he wears in a braided or twisted style.

They argue that this hairstyle should be protected under the state’s Crown Act, a law aimed at preventing discrimination based on hairstyles commonly associated with race.

The Family’s Stance and Legal Action

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Darryl’s mother, Darresha George, and their attorney have challenged the claim that the teenager’s hairstyle violated the school’s dress code.

In response, the family filed a formal complaint with the Texas Education Agency.

Federal Lawsuit

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She also initiated a federal civil rights lawsuit against the governor and attorney general.

They allege that these officials failed to enforce the new law prohibiting discrimination based on hairstyles.

School District’s Allegations and Lawsuit

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A notice sent to George’s family by the school district cited several alleged violations, including disruption of the ISS classroom, failure to comply with staff/administration directives, violations of the tardy policy, and breaches of the dress and grooming policy.

District Court’s Directions

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The school district’s lawsuit also seeks clarification from a state district court on whether its dress code restrictions regarding student hair length for boys violate the Crown Act.

This legal action was filed in Chambers County, situated east of Houston.

Previous Hairstyle Controversies

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Barbers Hill High School faced prior controversies about its dress code and hairstyle policies.

In 2020, the school told De’Andre Arnold and Kaden Bradford, both Black male students, that they must cut their dreadlocks.

May 2020 Ruling

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Subsequently, their families filed a lawsuit against the district in May 2020, and a federal judge later ruled that the district’s hair policy was discriminatory.

This case played a role in prompting Texas lawmakers to pass the state’s Crown Act. Arnold and Bradford withdrew from the school, with Bradford returning after the judge’s ruling.

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