The family of the Black Texas student who was suspended for wearing locs is suing Texas officials including Governor Greg Abbott.
On Saturday (September 23), Darryl George's family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, People reports.
The lawsuit comes after George, a junior at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, was placed on in-school suspension on August 31 for wearing locs, which district officials said violated its dress and grooming code. George was suspended again last week for wearing the same hairstyle to school, according to reports.
The George family lawsuit alleges that his suspension violates Texas' CROWN Act, a law that went into effect on September 1 prohibiting hair discrimination at work and school.
Allie Booker, the family's attorney, said George "should be permitted to wear his hair in the manner in which he wears it ... because the so-called neutral grooming policy has no close association with learning or safety and when applied, disproportionately impacts Black males."
David Bloom of the Barbers Hill Independent School District said in a statement on Friday (September 22) that Texas’ new law “prohibits a dress or grooming policy that discriminates against ‘protective hairstyles,'" but hair must still conform with the district's length requirements.
“'Protective hairstyles,' are defined by the Act as braids, locks, and twists. “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," the statement reads. “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.”
The district said they filed a declaratory judgment lawsuit on Wednesday (September 20), asking the court for clarification on whether Texas’ CROWN Act applies to hair length.
"Although we believe the new law does not govern hair length,” Barbers Hill Superintendent Greg Poole said, “we are asking the judicial system of Texas to interpret."
Darresha George, the student's mother, previously said her son was in tears due to his suspension.
"Every day my son comes home with tears in his eyes. He's frustrated; he's outraged, aggravated, and it's breaking him down mentally, physically, and emotionally," the mother said.
"He keeps getting punished for something that’s irrelevant to his education,” she told CNN.