A black student, Darryl George, from Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, Texas, was suspended for wearing dreadlocks that violated school policy because they reached below his eyebrows and earlobes. The 17-year-old student’s mother, Darresha George, was incomprehensible and emphasized that her son’s hair was tied up during class. The family argued that this hairstyle has cultural and religious significance and also pointed to the CROWN Act that recently came into force in the state of Texas. According to AP, this law is intended to prevent discrimination based on hair color and texture.
CROWN Act: A step against hairstyle discrimination
AP further reports that the CROWN Act, which is the acronym for “Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair,” has already been enacted in 24 states. The aim of the law is to prevent racial discrimination based on hairstyles and to protect people who wear hairstyles such as dreadlocks, afros and braids. For many Black people, such hairstyles have historical and cultural meanings that go beyond mere fashion trends.
Allie Booker, the George family’s attorney, argues that the school’s argument doesn’t hold water because the style should be considered part of a protected hairstyle, according to the AP. However, the school administration defends its dress code, arguing that it is intended to teach discipline and respect for authority.
Repeated cases of hair discrimination
Darryl George’s case is not the first of its kind. AP notes that similar cases have drawn national attention in the past in which students were suspended because of their hairstyles or were asked to cut their hair during athletic competitions.
This incident, AP said, highlights not only the ongoing debate about hair discrimination in schools and workplaces, but also the deep-rooted cultural and racial differences in society. The problem of race-based hair discrimination in the workplace and schools is long-standing and often associated with prejudice and stigma.
Finally, AP reports that the Darryl George incident has brought solidarity to many young Black people across the country who are also struggling against discriminatory dress codes in schools and discrimination in the workplace.