Darryl George, the 18-year-old Texan suspended from school for his locs, returned to classes this week only to be suspended again.
The teenager has become the center of a nationwide controversy owing to the disciplinary actions set out by Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, TX. The district viewed the school’s policy against “locs” as violating the dress code if the hair extends “below the eyebrows or below the ear lobes.”
Darryl George’s Exclusion From Classes Over His Locs
In October, Darresha George, his mother, stated that the school had suspended her son for over a month due to his hairstyle. Furthermore, officials were considering referring him to an alternative education program.
George returned to his class on Tuesday. But his relief was short-lived when they informed him again that he had violated the school’s dress code with his uncut hair.
Officials referred George to in-school suspension because his let-down hair “does not comply with the BH dress code.”
The Barbers Hill Independent School District responded to the backlash over George’s previous suspension. They insisted that though they allow students to wear locs, they limit the length of hairstyles for male students.
The school has since punished him with an additional 13 days of in-school suspension before allowing him back to class. But under one condition: he would have to cut his locs to a length the school deemed appropriate.
George’s mom informs the Associated Press that the family is taking a stand against the perceived discriminatory behavior towards a Black student. They insist that the school should not suspend him because of his hairstyle.
TEXAS HAIR BATTLE CONTINUES: On his first day back at school after spending a month at an off-site disciplinary program, Darryl George was suspended again, because of the length of his locs. On-air now with the latest @KHOU Get caught up & read here: https://t.co/Q8eFKtjcby pic.twitter.com/uUkRbXsc93
— Ugochi Iloka KHOU (@UgochiKHOU) December 6, 2023
For many people of color, locs symbolize racial identity, heritage, and history.
Darryl George’s mom says suspending a student for embracing his cultural identity puts the school’s ethos and commitment to inclusivity into question.
Darryl George’s Family Take Legal Action
The family argues that the school has violated the CROWN Act, which prohibits race-based hair discrimination in Texas. However, officials contended that the act makes no mention of hair length.
The repeated suspensions have raised family members’ concerns about the potential impact on George’s academic performance and mental health.
Singling out someone for their physical appearance can cause feelings of isolation and damaged self-esteem.
Darresha says they “do not see the light at the end of the tunnel.” But they refuse to back down.
Darryl George’s family has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the school district, the state’s governor and attorney.