Judge Rules That Texas School District's Suspension of Darryl George Over Length of His Locs Did Not Violate CROWN ACT

Darryl George, an 18-year-old student at Barbers Hill High School was first suspended from regular classes on Aug. 31, because he did not comply with the dress code.

A Texas judge ruled that a school district’s decision to suspend Darryl George over the length of his locs did not violate the state's CROWN Act, CBS reports.

After the ruling, George shared his disappointment with Judge Chap Cain III’s decision on Thursday (Feb.22).

"It's put a lot of emotions on me—anger, sadness, disappointment," George said. "It makes me very angry that throughout all these years, throughout all the fighting for the Black history that we've already done, we still have to do this again and again and again. It's ridiculous."

Following the verdict, Greg Poole, who has served as the school superintendent since 2006,  expressed his satisfaction with the court’s ruling.

"The Texas legal system has validated our position that the district's dress code does not violate the CROWN Act and that the CROWN Act does not give students unlimited self-expression," Poole said. "The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that affirmative action is a violation of the 14th Amendment and we believe the same reasoning will eventually be applied to the CROWN Act."

The Family Of A Black Student Is Suing Officials In Texas For Hair Discrimination

Rep. Jolanda Jones of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus accused the Cain of misinterpreting the law.

"I believe the CROWN Act is good because it was filed to protect kids who were being discriminated against in Barbers Hill ISD. The fact that the judge and Barbers Hill misinterpreted it—and I'm not even gonna say they even have a bad intent. You know what I'm gonna say? They don't have any cultural confidence and that's why they didn't understand it," Jones said.

"Your hairstyle doesn't determine whether you can learn or not, but the whole point—his hair was pulled back; his hair was above his eyebrows. So it's not about that, right? Otherwise, they would've made an exception for it," Jones continued.

In August, George was removed from regular classes at Barbers Hill in Mont Belvieu, Tex., “because he was not complying with the dress code.” The Texas CROWN Act, which prohibits race-based hair discrimination, which was enacted into law a day later.

George and his family have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in September arguing that his suspension is a violation of the state’s CROWN Act. The law prohibits discrimination against hair texture and protective hairstyles like locs and braids that are “commonly or historically associated with race.”

Taking out a full-page newspaper ad in the Houston Chronicle with the support of a local education foundation, Poole, who has served as the school superintendent since 2006, explained his rationale for suspending George in January.

“Being an American requires conformity with the positive benefit of unity,” Poole wrote.

“We have taken the highly unusual step of seeking a declaratory judgment in state district court to verify our interpretation,” Poole continued.

The suspension of George is not the first time that the school district has gotten into the controversy over suspending Black students with locs. In 2020, students De'Andre Arnold and Kaden Bradford were forced to cut their locs, and the students' families filed lawsuits against the school district for discrimination.

Eventually, a federal judge later ruled the district's hair policy was discriminatory.”

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