A Black student is suspended twice for his hairstyle. The school says it isn’t discrimination

MONT BELVIEU, Texas (AP) — After serving an in-school suspension over his hairstyle, a Black high school student in Texas immediately received the same punishment when he arrived at school Monday wearing his hair as before in twisted dreadlocks tied on top of his head, his mother said.

Darryl George, a junior at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, was initially suspended the same week his state outlawed racial discrimination based on hairstyles. School officials said his dreadlocks violated the district’s dress code because his hair fell below his eyebrows and ear lobes.

George, 17, served the first suspension last week at the Houston-area school. He was in tears when he was sent back to in-school suspension Monday, his mother Darresha George said.

“He has to sit on a stool for eight hours in a cubicle. That’s very uncomfortable. Every day he’d come home, he’d say his back hurts because he has to sit on a stool,” she said.

The incident recalls debates over hair discrimination in schools and the workplace and is already testing the state’s newly enacted CROWN Act, which took effect Sept. 1.

The law, an acronym for “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” is intended to prohibit race-based hair discrimination and bars employers and schools from penalizing people because of hair texture or protective hairstyles including Afros, braids, dreadlocks, twists or Bantu knots. Texas is one of 24 states that have enacted a version of the CROWN Act.

A federal version of the CROWN Act passed in the House of Representatives last year, but was not successful in the Senate.

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