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Recent cases highlight hairstyle 'discrimination' against students

Students in Kansas and Texas are recent examples of people being discriminated against for their hairstyles.
Recent cases highlight hairstyle 'discrimination' against students
Posted at 11:16 PM, Dec 07, 2023

An 8-year-old Native American boy was forced to cut his hair to comply with his Kansas elementary school's hair policy, which the American Civil Liberties Union called  "discriminatory.".

In a statement, the Wyandotte Nation said, "for centuries, tribal people have faced a siege of cultural oppression. This oppression has taken many forms including, but not limited to, the forced cutting of Native American men and boys' hair."

The statement also said, "as a general principle, the Wyandotte Nation understands that schools must impose rules and regulations to limit distractions. This is a culturally sensitive issue that brings to light historical traumas for many tribal nations."

The ACLU is demanding the school rescind its hair policy, noting many men in the Wyandotte Nation only cut their hair when mourning the loss of a loved one.

SEE MORE: The CROWN Act continues to push for representation for next generation

In Texas, a high school Black student was forced to serve in-school suspension for refusing to change his hairstyle, renewing a monthslong standoff over a dress code policy the teen's family calls discriminatory.

The student, Darryl George, was suspended for 13 days because his hair is out of compliance when let down, according to a disciplinary notice issued by Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu.

District Superintendent Greg Poole said the policy  teaches students to conform as a sacrifice.

The Legal Defense Fund says at least 22 states and 28 municipalities have signed the CROWN Act, which prohibits discrimination by hair styles, into law. 

Federal legislation has also been introduced as well.

"It certainly has support in the House. And when you think about all the states that have passed it, we're talking about red states, blue states, right? I'll add that, you know, there are ways that people have discovered around the existing CROWN Act as it exists in current states right now and there's also a movement in certain states to close up some of those loopholes," said Denise Maes, public former public policy analyst for ACLU of Colorado. 

In the meantime, nonprofits are gathering together to push for federal passage of the CROWN Act.

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