TROY, TX — Maddox Cozart, a Native and African American student, has spent the past 10 days in in-school suspension after officials at Troy ISD said his braided hairstyle violates dress code.
Maddox's mother, Hope Cozart, and her family spoke out at a Troy ISD board meeting Monday, saying the rule needs to change.
“It’s disheartening. He’s a child. A child shouldn’t have to go through this over hair,” said Cozart.
The 11-year-old braided his hair to learn more about his African heritage, but Cozart believes the suspension is teaching her son that he can’t express himself.
“This community is growing and we need to open up change for others that are going to come in. Let them know that we accept them,” she said.
Supporters of the school policy say Cozart is just trying to turn the situation into something it’s not. They believe her son should comply with the rule like everyone else.
“It’s not a race issue until they made it one. It’s a rule issue,” said one supporter.
Cozart says her daughter also faced backlash from the district when she dyed her hair red earlier this year.
She says at that time, the principal vetoed the discipline against her daughter.
Troy ISD superintendent Neil Jeter says the school board will not comment on the disciplinary actions of one of their students.
Cozart says she’s planning to take legal action against the district and is hoping the Texas lawmakers pass legislation to allow her son to keep his hairstyle.