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Texas judge rules against Darryl George in dreadlocs case


Houston Chronicle via Getty Images

A Texas judge ruled Thursday that the Barbers Hill Independent School District can restrict a male’s natural hair length.

The judge ruled that the state’s CROWN Act does not make it unlawful for school dress codes to limit a student’s hair length.

The CROWN Act, went into effect on September 1, 2023, and prohibits discrimination based on ethnic hairstyles.

The ruling was a blow to student Darryl George who sued the school district for suspending him over his dreadlocs hairstyle.

The lawsuit was dismissed. Attorneys for the family said they intend to appeal the ruling.
 
RELATED: Black student who refused to cut dreadlocks has been transferred
 
At a news conference outside the courthouse, Candice Matthews, a spokesperson for the family, said George had tears in his eyes when the judge announced his ruling.

Matthews said the family is hurt, angry and confused by the ruling.

“Darryl made this statement, and told me this straight up with tears in his eyes, ‘All because of my hair? I can’t get my education because of hair? I cannot be around other peers and enjoy my junior year, because of my hair?’”

Houston Chronicle via Getty Images

George, 18, was suspended for months over his refusal to cut his hair.

When his suspension ended and he returned to Barbers Hill High School with the same hairstyle, he was placed on in-school suspension.

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Following his second suspension, George was transferred to EPIC, an alternative school program, for “repeatedly violating the dress and grooming policy,” read a letter sent to his parents by principal Lance Murphy.

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“I want them to stop being discriminatory against Black and brown kids, not just mines, but any kids,” said Darresha George, Darryl’s mother, in October 2023.

Barbers Hill Independent School District prohibits male students from wearing their hair below the eyebrows, ear lobes or the top of a T-shirt collar, according to the student handbook.

Additionally, hair must be clean, well-groomed, geometrical and not an unnatural color or variation, the handbook states.

The rules are meant to prepare students for the workforce where dress codes are strictly enforced.

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