Barbers Hill ISD wins legal battle against student’s family over CROWN Act, hair length restrictions

ANAHUAC, Texas – A Chambers Country judge has ruled in favor of the Barbers Hill Independent School District on the first day of trial after a student’s family claimed that the district went against the CROWN Act.

Chambers County Judge Chap B. Cain III made the ruling on the first day of trial on Thursday, Feb. 22.

KPRC 2 Reporter Re’Chelle Turner was live at the courthouse when the ruling came down.

Judge Cain said that the CROWN Act does not prohibit school districts from enforcing dress codes that limit hair length.

Now, George will continue his in-school suspension, something he says deprives him of the usual school experience. State Rep. Ron Reynolds says he will file a new crown act which will include hair length.

“It feels lonely when you’re the only one stuck in a room for a while semester,” George said. “a whole year at that. It makes you feel some type of way because you can’t be a child like everybody else. You see everybody else talking, laughing, you can’t do that and it just puts pressure on your shoulders.”

The family’s attorney, Allie Booker, stated that they planned to appeal the ruling at a later date.

Darryl George and his family spoke ahead of the trial.

SEE ALSO: Protest planned outside of Barbers Hill ISD Superintendent’s house before trial begins Thursday

Here’s how the Barbers Hill ISD hair controversy began...

The legal battle at Barbers Hill ISD began after a high school student started facing ongoing disciplinary measures from the district due to his hairstyle.

Darryl George, 18, was first reprimanded in August 2023 after being told that his hairstyle didn’t adhere to the Barbers Hill Independent School District’s guidelines. Consequently, he has spent over half of his junior year outside the traditional classroom setting.

George, an African-American student, wears his hair in locs which his mother said he has been growing out for years but keeps in a neat, protective style while in school.

SEE ALSO: ‘We will see justice’: Family, attorney for Barbers Hill student say they won’t back down amid hairstyle controversy

He was first suspended, then sent to an alternative school, and then placed in In-School Suspension where he has been for the past seven months.

George and his family described the treatment he endured during ISS as inhumane, citing prolonged periods sitting on a hard stool and being served bologna for lunch daily.

Currently, the student and his family argue that the district’s continuation of this punishment violates the CROWN Act. Ironically, this law was passed following a similar incident at the same school in 2020.


The family has filed a formal complaint with the Texas Education Agency and a federal civil rights lawsuit against the state’s Governor and Attorney General along with the school district, alleging they failed to enforce the new law outlawing discrimination based on hairstyles.

In response, the school district has also initiated legal action in state district court, seeking clarification on whether its dress code regulations, which include restrictions on boys’ hair length, contravene the CROWN Act.

The CROWN Act, which stands for ‘Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair’ became law in Texas in September and is intended to prohibit race-based hair discrimination at work or schools.

About the Author

Moriah Ballard joined the KPRC 2 digital team in the fall of 2021. Prior to becoming a digital content producer in Southeast Texas and a Houstonian, Moriah was an award-winning radio host in her hometown of Lorain, Ohio, and previously worked as a producer/content creator in Cleveland. Her faith, family, and community are her top passions.

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