Houston-Area Student Suspended Again Amid Battle Over Dreadlocks and School Policy

Houston-Area Student Suspended Again Amid Battle Over Dreadlocks and School PolicySource: WUSF Official Website
John Becker
Published on December 07, 2023

At Barbers Hill High School, a student named Darryl George was hit with another suspension over his dreadlocks, demonstrating a hair-raising battle between personal expression and school policy. According to the Houston Chronicle, after an initial suspension and a stint in alternative schooling, George returned to regular classes only to be funneled back to in-school suspension for his 'do, which is considered in violation of the school's dress code.

The Texas Legislature’s recent introduction of The CROWN Act, which seeks to prevent discrimination based on hair texture or protective hairstyles, has thrown this policy into the legislative spotlight. Despite the act's clear prohibition against discrimination, Barbers Hill is sticking to its grooming guns, arguing that its policy doesn't conflict with the law, as they say, the act does not cover hair length. As WUSF reported, the school’s stance has led to George’s family filing a federal civil rights lawsuit for not enforcing the CROWN Act.

The school's superintendent, Greg Poole, reportedly told the Houston Chronicle, "Confidentiality does not allow us to disclose the infractions that caused his current disciplinary placement, but it was unequivocally not because of his hair,"

"We will continue to fight alongside the George family and work with State Reps. Bowers and Reynolds to amend the vague language that's being exploited by Barbers Hill ISD to push their racial discrimination agenda towards our children," the George family said in a statement sent to NPR.

State Rep. Rhetta Andrews Bowers publicly criticized the district and voiced support for George. “The Texas Crown Act was passed to prevent situations like this, and it is very disappointing to see Barbers Hill ISD attempt to find loopholes to skirt the law and perpetuate hair discrimination,” Bowers said in a statement obtained by the Houston Chronicle