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Black Students Alternative Education Program for Hairstyle Sparks Controversy

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Last Updated on October 12, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes

Title: Texas High School Faces Backlash Over Suspension of Black Student With Dreadlocks

In a recent incident that has sparked outrage, an African American student in Texas has been removed from his high school and sent to a disciplinary alternative education program after spending over a month on in-school suspension due to his dreadlocks. Darryl George, an 18-year-old junior at Barbers Hill High School, has been suspended since August 31 and will be sent to EPIC, an alternative school program, from October 12 to November 29 for “failure to comply” with campus and classroom regulations.

The controversy stems from Barbers Hill High School’s strict dress code policy, which prohibits male students from having hair that extends below the eyebrows, ear lobes, or top of a T-shirt collar. Principal Lance Murphy defended the decision, stating that George repeatedly violated the school district’s standards of student conduct, as outlined in the student handbook.

However, George’s mother and the family’s attorney argue that his dreadlocks do not violate the dress code and have taken legal action. They have filed a formal complaint with the Texas Education Agency and a federal civil rights lawsuit against the state’s governor and attorney general, alleging they failed to enforce a new law outlawing discrimination based on hairstyles. The family claims that George’s suspension and subsequent discipline violate the state’s CROWN Act, which took effect on September 1 and aims to prohibit race-based hair discrimination.

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The school district, on the other hand, has filed a lawsuit in state district court to determine whether its dress code restrictions on hair length for boys violate the CROWN Act. This is not the first time Barbers Hill High School has faced controversy over its hair policy. In 2020, two other Black male students, De’Andre Arnold and Kaden Bradford, were told they had to cut their dreadlocks. Their families sued the district, and a federal judge ruled that the hair policy was discriminatory.

The case of Arnold and Bradford played a crucial role in the approval of Texas’ CROWN Act, which prevents employers and schools from penalizing individuals based on their hair texture or protective hairstyles.

As the debate intensifies, the situation has garnered widespread attention, raising concerns about racial discrimination within schools and the need to promote inclusivity and acceptance among students of all backgrounds. This incident highlights the ongoing struggle to eradicate discrimination based on racial stereotypes and serves as a reminder of the importance such cases hold for education reforms.

Efforts to address this issue have gained momentum across the country, with several states adopting or considering similar legislation to protect individuals from hair-based discrimination. As the legal battle surrounding Darryl George continues, it remains to be seen how this case will impact future policies and the broader fight against racial discrimination in schools.

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