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Texas student suspended over his hair to attend SOTU as Congressional Black Caucus guest

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) will welcome a Texas student who was suspended for his hair to President Biden’s State of the Union address Thursday.

Darryl George, a Black student at Barbers Hill High School in Mount Belvieu, has spent months serving in-school suspension for refusing to cut his locs. Though the school says George’s hair is in violation of its policy, George and his family have argued the policy violates the state’s CROWN Act, which went into effect last September.

The CROWN Act is intended to ban discrimination based on natural hair textures and styles. CROWN stands for “Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair.”

“There is no sound justification for the way the Barbers Hill Independent School District is treating Darryl George,” said Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), chair of the CBC.

“Darryl is a young student who just wants to go to school and receive an education. Darryl, and any student, should be allowed to go to school in a safe environment, free from this sort of bullying and mistreatment by the school system.”

In 2019, California became the first state to enact the CROWN Act. Since then, 22 other states have passed the CROWN Act, including Texas.

But Feb. 22, Texas District Judge Chap Cain III ruled in favor of the Barbers Hill Independent School District, saying its policy is not discriminatory and does not violate the Texas CROWN Act.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), the lead primary sponsor for a federal CROWN Act, said the treatment George has experienced over the last six months is indicative of why Congress must pass a federal CROWN Act.

“Using in-school-suspension for this long, months, and over a civil rights dispute is atrocious,” Watson Coleman said. “They’ve told this young man, ‘Your hair, the hair God gave you, is wrong. You must change the hair God gave you to conform to what we want to see.’ At this point they’re not trying to punish him, they’re trying to break his spirit. God bless him, they haven’t yet.”

Horsford said George has the full support of the CBC.

“The CBC stands in full support of Darryl’s personal right to wear his hair the way he chooses, and we are calling for the Barbers Hill Independent School District to end this discriminatory farce and immediately allow him to return to the classroom and receive his education,” Horsford said.

—Updated at 5:05 p.m.

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