NewsJudge Waits To Announce Outcome Of Darryl George's Lawsuit

Judge Waits To Announce Outcome Of Darryl George’s Lawsuit

George has not returned to his normal classes since Aug. 31 because the district claims the length of his hair violates its dress code.

A federal judge is waiting to rule on a lawsuit filed by a Black Texas high school student suing for racial and gender discrimination after refusing to change his hairstyle.

George has not returned to his normal classes at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu since Aug. 31 because the district, Barbers Hill Independent School District, claims the length of his hair violates the dress code. The school district, the district superintendent, the principal, and the assistant principal, as well as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton, are all named as defendants in the suit. 

The district argued that George’s hair, which he typically wears twisted on top of his head, violates policy because if taken down, it would fall below his shirt collar, eyebrows, or earlobes. The district has said other students with locs comply with the length policy. George and his mother are accusing those named in the filing as failing to stop racial and gender discrimination against the student while being punished. 

While waiting for the official ruling, Darresha said she was just happy that her son’s day in court had arrived. “I’m just happy that we’re here. We finally made it here,” George said. “ This is another stepping stone we have to cross. It’s been a long road, and we will just be in this fight.” 

The suit accuses the parties involved of numerous violations, including free speech and the CROWN Act. Since the junior student has spent most of the school year in in-school suspension at an off-site disciplinary program, the suit alleges George’s First Amendment rights to free speech and expression are being violated. 

His punishment is also claimed to violate the CROWN Act, a state law that took effect in September and prohibits race-based hair discrimination. The law bans employers and schools from penalizing people because of hair texture or protective hairstyles, including Afros, braids, locs, twists, or Bantu knots.

Allie Booker, George’s attorney, and Judge Brown claim the district’s policy is discriminatory, alleging the school district makes religious exemptions for hair length but doesn’t follow CROWN Act provisions by not offering race-based protections. She also argues that there are no rules defined for girls. After Brown asked about any cases indicating, Booker said the case isn’t about hair length but about “acceptance for all in the same manner.” 

After the hearing, George didn’t make a statement, but his attorney said he was “a little sad” due to difficulty finding a summer job. “He’s just afraid that some of the people that don’t agree with this case will hold it against him as they have been,” Booker said.

The lead primary sponsor of The CROWN Act, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), called the in-school suspension “for this long, MONTHS, and over a civil rights dispute “atrocious.

The judge mentioned possibly dismissing Abbott and Paxton from the lawsuit and a few claims filed against the superintendent and school administrators. He said a final ruling would be issued at a later date.

Source: Black Enterprise

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