A Black student in Texas who was suspended because of his locs won’t be returning to school anytime soon.
According to AP, Darryl George, 18, will remain on in-school suspension at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, Texas, for the remainder of the year as his lawyer’s efforts to pause his suspension remain on hold in federal court, including the family’s civil rights lawsuit.
During a hearing Wednesday on the federal lawsuit, George’s attorney told the judge that she fears he could be expelled, but says he’s a strong-minded kid.
“He’s not going to break,” said Booker. “He’s strong … He’s like, ‘I’m not going to cut my hair, but I just can’t believe I’m going through this.’”
In September, Darryl George was removed from his high school and sent to a disciplinary alternative education program after being suspended for more than a month over his choice to wear his locs unpinned and below his eyebrows.
He was sent to the alternative program EPIC from Oct. 12 through Nov. 29, for what the principal called a “failure to comply” with campus and classroom regulations.
George’s family also filed a formal complaint with the Texas Education Agency, as well as a federal civil rights lawsuit against Gov. Greg Abbott, Attorney General Ken Paxton and the school district for violating the state’s CROWN ACT.
The CROWN ACT, or House Bill 567, went into effect Sept. 1, 2021. Since then, over 20 states have enacted some form of the CROWN Act, which bans discrimination in schools and the workplace based on Black hair texture and style.
The federal lawsuit is currently before U.S. District Judge Charles Eskridge. During a court hearing Wednesday, Judge Eskridge considered a motion to consolidate the two lawsuits as well as motions to dismiss the lawsuits against Abbott, Paxton and the school district.
But, according to AP, Booker says she’s preparing to ask for a temporary injunction that would pause Darryl George’s punishment until the case is resolved, but she can’t proceed until Judge Eskridge rules on the current motions, which isn’t likely to happen until next year.
“It’s very frustrating,” said Booker. “It’s just overwhelming because it’s like you just want to get there … knowing that you’re going to win. Case precedent has been set. We will win the injunction.”
CROWN, which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, protects individuals from discrimination over natural and protective hairstyles in the workplace, schools and other institutions. The legislation also ensures that people with unique hairstyles like locs, Bantu knots or afros, aren’t deprived of educational and employment opportunities. New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Waston Coleman is fighting for the Senate to pass the historic legislation across the United States.
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