According to a new study from the ACLU of Texas over half of the public schools in the state enforce dress codes and grooming policies that discriminate against students. Most of these policies target public school students based on their gender or racial identity.
This review by the ACLU of Texas examined over 1,000 K-12 school districts throughout the 2022 and 2023 education year. The study presents a troubling pattern for many public schools.
The results from the study showed that over half (53%) of these districts require students to abide by archaic dress and grooming standards (e.g. stipulating that boys can have only a certain length of hair and banning “suggestive” clothes for girls). The study also noted that over 80% of districts prohibit head coverings, with no exceptions for religious or cultural beliefs.
There were also key findings that showed that 80% of school district dress and grooming codes discriminate against Black students. Last year, the Texas Legislature passed the CROWN Act, also known as the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act, which is supposed to prohibit hair discrimination based on race, including in public schools.
Recently, the family of 18-year-old Darryl George filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the state of Texas over George receiving an in-school suspension for wearing his hair in dreadlocks to Barbers Hill High School. The case received national attention and even spurred the superintendent of Barbers Hill ISD to take out a full-page advertisement in The Houston Chronicle outlining why George’s suspension is not due to the CROWN Act.