Dr. Candice Matthews, Darryl George, and Darresha George.
Dr. Candice Matthews
Darryl George was suspended from his Texas high school over the length of his locs hairstyle.
Now his lawyer is threatening to report the school to Child Protective Services.
His mom says he’s forced to sit on a stool for eight hours a day, hurting his back and his education.
A Texas school suspended a Black student for his locs hairstyle — an expression of his culture that has family members’ hair woven into it.
Darryl George, a 17-year-old junior at Barbers Hill High School in a suburb of Houston, was first suspended for his traditional locs hairstyle on August 31 — the same week that the state’s Crown Act went into effect, a new law prohibiting race-based hair discrimination in schools and workplaces.
The district’s dress code policy bars male students from having hair that extends past their eyebrows or earlobes, even if it is pulled back.
George has been stuck in in-school suspension (ISS) ever since for refusing to cut off his locs. After completing a two-week suspension last week, George returned to school on Monday with his twisted locs tied on top of his head, but not cut off. He was given another round of suspension, a civil rights activist helping his family, Dr. Candice Matthews, told Insider.
George’s mother Darresha told Insider that while her son is in ISS, he doesn’t even have a proper chair to sit on.
“Daryl is sitting on a stool, a stool in a cubby,” Darresha George told Insider. “That’s what conditions he’s in. He’s got to sit on the stool for eight hours, back hurting, and can’t move.”
“If I were to make my children sit on a stool for eight hours, I would have an issue with CPS,” Allie Booker, an attorney representing the George family, said, referring to Child Protective Services. “And so that’s also the next step is that we’re going to contact Child Protective Services because the conditions that he is in inside of that room are not proper. He doesn’t even have a desk.”
Darryl’s mother said that the school does not offer students in ISS a cafeteria lunch, only a sandwich and a bottle of water.
“They put him in ISS, taking him out of his education, stopping his education,” Darresha George added. “His grades are falling because he’s not getting proper instructions to do his work.”
The district’s communications director, David Bloom, told The New York Times that students in ISS are gathered in a room with a teacher, where they sit at desks separated by partitions. Bloom did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for clarification on the conditions in ISS.
Booker said that in addition to filing a report with CPS, she plans to file a lawsuit against the school this week for racial discrimination and violation of the Crown Act.
Bloom told Insider that the district’s policy on hair length does not violate the Crown Act. He pointed to a statement from Rep. Rhetta Bowers, who championed the Crown Act, saying the law is not about hair length or hair color.
But the George family and their supporters are not backing down.
“Darryl’s hair is spiritual, his hair is a connection to his ancestors. His hair is a connection to God,” Matthews said, adding that Darryl’s dad’s hair, stepdad’s hair, and brother’s hair is woven into his own. “So cutting it off is cutting him off from them too.
“He’s going to keep fighting, but it’s tearing him down,” Darresha George said. “He’s up every night. He has tears in his eyes every day. He’s emotionally and physically drained behind this.”