Judge sets trial date in Texas Crown Act, dress code violation case

Darryl George has been out of a typical school setting for nearly half a year due to the dispute.

MONT BELVIEU, Texas — On Wednesday, a judge set a trial date to determine if Barbers Hill Independent School District violates the Crown Act. The school came under fire in August of 2023 after suspending a Black student saying the length of his hair — which is in locs — went against the dress code.

Darryl George is the 18-year-old at the center of the controversy. It’s been nearly half a year since he’s been back at school at Barbers Hill HS and he said he’s angry and frustrated that he’s been singled out. His mother and supporters said they’ve come this far, and plan to continue pushing back against the district and what they call a discriminatory policy.

“We are here because racism has reared its ugly head again,” Candice Matthews, with the Texas Democratic Caucus, said.

George has had quite the school year. The junior hasn’t spent much of it inside Barbers Hill High School. He’s instead been in in-school suspension and alternative school, and it’s all tied back to his hair.

“It’s my confidence, my personality it’s everything to me,” he said about his hairstyle.

He was suspended in August of 2023 because the district said he violated the dress code which prohibits male students from having hair longer than their ears, past their eyebrows or touching their shirt collar.

“He doesn’t think he has to follow the law so he’s going to punish this young man for as long as he can until he makes this young man give up,” George’s attorney Allie Booker said.

On Wednesday, a Chambers County judge met with representatives from both sides and picked a trial date for Feb. 22. George’s attorney hoped the judge would hold his punishment, which would allow him to go back to school immediately. Still, the judge said he’d rather wait until the trial to make a decision.

“I have a son that’s 18 that wants to go to school that wants to get his education and y’all are messing with him, why?” Darresha George said. “They have many people out here on drugs doing God knows what, but then you have a child that actually wants to do right and y’all still pick with him over hair.”

Supporters continue to push back against the dress code the district said he’s violating. They said it’s the district that violates the Crown Act, which prohibits race-based hair discrimination. They even referenced a recent full-page ad the district’s superintendent placed in the Houston Chronicle defending his position — saying the policy is legal and teaches students to conform as a sacrifice benefitting everyone.

“Darryl George will not conform. Darryl George’s family will not conform. You will not try to keep pressing his neck to make him cut his hair. Absolutely not,” Matthews said.

George’s attorney said they’ll plea to the Texas Education Agency asking them to implement policies that prevent this from happening again in other districts.

Katiera Winfrey on social media: Facebook | X | Instagram

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