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Black Texas student suspended again over hair length

Darryl George, a Black high school student, was suspended again by his Texas school district over his hairstyle violating his school’s dress code.

According to a disciplinary notice issued by Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, Texas, the 18-year-old high school student was handed down a 13-day suspension on Tuesday due to his braided hair being out of compliance when let down.

This was George’s first day back in school after spending a month at an off-site disciplinary program in relation to a previous suspension imposed by the school in August, according to the Associated Press.

“While in class, he was told he was in violation of the school dress code policy for not cutting his hair and was again referred to in-school suspension,” George’s family spokesperson Candice Matthews said in a statement to the New York Times.

George, who spent most of his junior year away from regular classes, was initially pulled out of the Houston-area high school in August. School officials complained that his braided hair fell below his eyebrows and ear lobes and violated the district’s dress code, the AP reported.

“We are just trying to take it day by day. That’s all we can do,” George’s mother, Darresha George, told the AP. “We do not see the light at the end of the tunnel. But we are not giving up.”

Darresha George also told the Times that her son was placed in a cubicle away from his classroom when his first suspension was imposed, noting that his classwork was brought to him.

The George family has already filed a formal complaint against the state’s education agency and a federal civil rights lawsuit against the state’s governor, attorney general, and the Barbers Hill Independent School District (BHISD).

They allege that all parties failed to enforce the CROWN Act, a state new law that prohibits schools and companies from discriminating against hairstyles that are associated with a specific race or ethnicity.

In response, BHISD, which has previously dealt with criticism over its decision involving a student’s hairstyle, has filed its own lawsuit in a state district court, asking the judge to clarify if its dress code rules for boys’ hair violates the CROWN Act, according to the AP.

Matthews, the vice chair of the Texas Coalition of Black Democrats, also said that the family is working with state lawmakers to amend the state law so it can explicitly deal with the question of hair length, the Times reported.

The Hill has reached out to the BHISD for comment and more information.

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