MONT BELVIEU, Texas — A Texas lawmaker is demanding answers after a Barbers Hill ISD student was suspended again Tuesday for the length of his hair. He said the district in Mont Belvieu is violating the Texas CROWN Act.
Barbers Hill High School junior Darryl George was also suspended on Monday, his mom Darresha said. She said it doesn't make sense because he wears his hair up.
“They said that when let down, his hair is below his eyebrows, which they’ve never see his hair let down, because as you can see from pictures, from all the pictures, his hair is always up," Darresha said.
She said Darryl was first given a two-week suspension on August 31. When he returned to school on Monday, he was suspended again and forced to sit on a stool in a cubicle for eight hours.
Darresha insisted her son has done nothing wrong.
“He’s going to go to school every day. He’s going to go to school in dress code, not violating a dress code. And we’re just going to have to take it one day at a time, one step at a time," Darresha said.
Barbers Hill ISD is no stranger to controversy over this issue. It's 2020 suspension of DeAndre Arnold for the length of his locks led to the CROWN Act. The law prohibiting race-based hair discrimination in Texas workplaces and schools was passed overwhelmingly and signed by Gov. Greg Abbott.
The law itself does not mention length, but says "protective hairstyle" includes braids, locks and twists.
State Sen. Borris Miles called the district's actions "discriminatory."
“I am calling for Barbers Hill ISD to remove Darryl George from in-school suspension and to revise their dress code to come into compliance with the CROWN Act," Miles said in a statement. "It is unbelievable that the district whose discriminatory actions led to the creation of the CROWN Act is the first to defy the new law."
"Claiming that Darryl is violating a hair length policy is simply a backdoor method to continue discriminating against students with natural hair. The bipartisan CROWN Act passed the Legislature overwhelmingly and is now the law of this state. It’s time for Barbers Hill ISD to comply with the law.”
The district said with George, they are not in conflict with the CROWN Act and they released this statement.
The Barbers Hill ISD Dress and Grooming Code permits protective hairstyles, but any hairstyle must be in conformity with the requirement that male students’ hair will not extend, at any time, below the eyebrows or below the ear lobes. Further, male students’ hair must not extend below the top of a t-shirt collar or be gathered or worn in a style that would allow the hair to extend below the top of a t-shirt collar, below the eyebrows, or below the ear lobes when let down. Accordingly, protective hairstyles are permitted, but must still comply with the Dress and Grooming Code.
State Rep. Rhetta Bowers, who authored the CROWN Act legislation in Texas, has made it clear in a recent media interview that hair length and color are not protected under the CROWN Act."
“It’s strongly about protective styles. That’s what we need to know. It’s not about length, and it's not about color of hair," Bowers said in the interview.
Darryl’s family and attorney say they are taking legal action against the district and say they have contacted CPS. CPS has confirmed they are investigating.