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    Texas school suspends black student again for refusing to change hairstyle

    Photo: Michael Wyke/APTexas school suspends black student again for refusing to change hairstyle

    Darryl George has already wasted more than 80% of his junior year outside the regular classroom, first mentioned in August.

    A Texas high school sent a black student back to in-school suspension Tuesday for refusing to change clothes. his hairstyle reignited a months-long standoff over a dress code policy that the teen's family calls discriminatory.

    Student Darryl George was suspended for 13 days because his hair became unruly when left down, according to a disciplinary notice issued by Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, Texas. It was his first day of school after a month in an on-site disciplinary program.

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    George, He is 18 years old, he has already spent over 80% of his freshman year outside the regular classroom.

    He was first pulled from class at a Houston-area school in August after school officials said his braided locks fell below his eyebrows and earlobes and violated the district's dress code. His family claims the punishment violates the Crown Act, which became law in Texas in September and is intended to prohibit discrimination based on race. The school says the Crown Act does not cover hair length.

    George's mother, Darresha George, and the family's lawyer deny the teen's hairstyle violates the dress code, saying his hair is neatly braided into twisted dreadlocks on top of his head.

    “ We're just trying take it day by day. That’s all we can do,” Darresha told The Associated Press. “We don't see the light at the end of the tunnel. But we don’t give up.”

    Dress code policies in the Barbers Hill Independent School District received media attention in 2020 when a Black student was banned from returning to school or attending a graduation ceremony unless he cut his hair. Greg Poole, district superintendent since 2006, said the policy is legal and teaches students to comply as a sacrifice that benefits everyone.

    School officials said George was placed in a disciplinary program for violating the dress code and tardiness policy, disrupting class activities and failing to follow school instructions. When he served his sentence there, county spokesman David Bloom said George was told he would be suspended again unless he cut his hair.

    George's family filed a formal lawsuit. complaint to the Texas Education Agency and a federal civil rights lawsuit against the state governor and attorney general, as well as the school district, alleging they failed to enforce a new law prohibiting hairstyle discrimination.

    George “should be allowed to wear his hair the way he wears it… because the so-called neutral grooming policy has no close connection to training or safety and, when enforced, disproportionately affects black men,” Ellie Booker, the family's attorney, wrote in the lawsuit.

    The school district filed a lawsuit in state district court asking for clarification on whether its dress code restrictions limiting the length of students' hair for boys violates Corona. Take action.

    The Crown Act aims to ban hair discrimination based on race and prevent employers and schools from punishing people because of hair texture or protective hairstyles, including afros, cornrows, dreadlocks, curls or Bantu knots. Texas is one of 24 states that have passed a version of the law.

    A federal version of the law passed the U.S. House of Representatives last year but failed in the Senate.

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    George's school previously had a conflict with two other black male students over the dress code.

    Barbers Hill officials told cousins ​​DeAndre Arnold and Caden Bradford they had to cut their dreadlocks in 2020. The families of two students sued the school district in May 2020, and a federal judge later ruled that the district's hair policy was discriminatory.

    Their case, which attracted national attention and is still pending, helped Texas lawmakers approve the state's Crown Act. Both students left the school, and Bradford returned after the judge's ruling.

    Ron Reynolds, a Texas Democratic Party spokesman and chairman of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, said he plans to file a lawsuit to change the law next session, which “specifically addresses duration to stop their pretextual arguments about non-compliance with the Crown Act.”

    “They are acting in bad faith to continue to discriminate against African American students,” wrote Reynolds in an email.

    George said he feels singled out because there are other boys at school with longer hair than other boys. his. He was denied an exception his family requested because of the cultural and religious significance of his hairstyle.

    “It's frustrating because I'm being punished for doing what everyone else is doing, – growing hair. with hair,” said George.

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