The same week his state outlawed racial discrimination based on hairstyles, a Black high school student in Texas was suspended because school officials said his locs violated the district’s dress code.
Darryl George, a junior at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, received an in-school suspension after he was told his hair fell below his eyebrows and ear lobes. George, 17, wears his hair in thick twisted dreadlocks, tied on top of his head, said his mother, Darresha George.
George served the suspension last week. His mother said he plans to return to the Houston-area school Monday, wearing his dreadlocks in a ponytail, even if he is required to attend an alternative school as a result.
The incident recalls debates over hair discrimination in schools and the workplace and is already testing the state’s newly enacted CROWN Act, which took effect September 1.
The law, an acronym for “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” is intended to prohibit race-based hair discrimination and bars employers and schools from penalizing people because of hair texture or protective hairstyles including Afros, braids, dreadlocks, twists or Bantu knots. Texas is one of 24 states that has enacted a version of the CROWN Act.
A federal version of the CROWN Act passed in the House of Representatives last year, but was not successful in the Senate.