Darryl George, CROWN Act, Hair, Locs, Texas

Darryl George: Judge Rules Texas School Hair Policy Not In Violation Of CROWN Act 

Hairstyles should never stand in the way of education!

A judge has ruled the dress and grooming policies of a Texas school district did not violate Texas’ CROWN Act after a Black teenager was punished for the length of his dreadlocks.

Sounds of shock from supporters of Darryl George, who traveled from far distances, could be heard as State District Judge Chap Cain III ruled in favor of the Barbers Hill Independent School District. The school was accused of violating the state-passed act in a lawsuit filed by George’s family. Cain said the district’s policy “does not prohibit nor does it discriminate against male students who wear braids, locs, or twists” because the law does not mention hair length.

The CROWN Act was passed to prevent schools from discriminating against hairstyles based on hair texture and styles, such as braids, dreadlocks, Bantu knots, and more. It also prohibits race-based hair discrimination in schools. During the trial, George’s attorney, Allie Booker, presented two witnesses – George’s mother and state Rep. Ron Reynolds (D) – a co-author of the CROWN Act. 

Reynolds testified that hair length was never explicitly mentioned when the act was proposed; however, “length was inferred with the very nature of the style.” “Anyone familiar with braids, locs, twists knows it requires a certain amount of length,” he said. The school district had no witnesses to testify on their behalf but did submit evidence, including an affidavit from the district’s superintendent defending the dress code policy.

After refusing to cut his locks in August 2023 to Barbers Hill High School’s standards, George has spent most of his junior year serving an in-school suspension or at an off-site disciplinary program. George left the courtroom in tears, according to family spokesperson Candice Matthews. “All because of my hair?” he said, according to Matthews. “I can’t get my education because of my hair. I can’t be around my peers and enjoy my junior year because of my hair.” 

Following the ruling, George spoke to the media and said the ordeal weighed on him.

“It’s put a lot of emotions on me. Anger, sadness, you know, disappointment,” he said while fighting back tears. After a reporter asked if he felt he was being robbed of his childhood, he responded with “for sure.”

“No doubt about that. It just makes me feel angry, very angry that you know, throughout all these years, throughout fighting for the Black history, that we’ve already done, we still have to do this again and again and again,” the 18-year-old said. “It’s ridiculous. Makes no sense.” 

Hair stylists, children, and natural hair activists nationwide came to support the high school junior. Neighborhoods were filled with supporters chanting “Justice for Darryl George” and carrying signs including hashtags like #DoesMyHairOffendYou and #MyHairIsNotAThreat.

One loctician, Janaie Roberts, posted a salon chair at the sight of the demonstration to style protesters’ dreadlocks. She said the hairstyle is a form of expression. “I’m an advocate for natural hair. This is how we express ourselves, so it’s not fair for us to be held back,” Roberts said. “Just like we have freedom of speech, we have the freedom to be ourselves.”

Matthews said this isn’t over as the family promises not to “lay down” and “continue to fight.” The family also filed a complaint with the Texas Education Agency and federal civil rights lawsuits against Gov. Greg Abbott, Attorney General Ken Paxton, and the school district, accusing them of failing to enforce the CROWN Act.