Hair controversy at BHISD continues

Judge Chap Cain III sets February 22nd for next hearing

CHAMBERS COUNTY – Both parties in the controversy over the hair style and length of a Barbers Hill high school student, Darryl George, presented their arguments to the public and to Judge Chap Cain last week.

Barbers Hill ISD superintendent Greg Poole stated his case in a full page ad in the Houston Chronicle, and George’s supporters held a press conference at the court house in Anahuac prior to a mandatory meeting with Judge Cain.

In the paid ad that ran this month in the Houston Chronicle, Barbers Hill Superintendent Greg Poole maintained the district is not violating the CROWN Act.

In the ad, Poole defended his district’s policy and wrote that districts with a traditional dress code are safer and had higher academic performance and that “being an American requires conformity.”

“We will not lose sight of the main goal – high standards for our students – by bending to political pressure or responding to misinformed media reports. These entities have ‘lesser’ goals that ultimately harm kids,” Poole wrote.

The two Texas lawmakers who co-wrote the state’s version of the CROWN Act – state Reps. Rhetta Bowers and Ron Reynolds – attended Wednesday’s hearing and said the new state law does protect Darryl George’s hairstyle.

The district “is punishing Darryl George for one reason: his choice to wear his hair in a protective style which harms no one and causes no distraction in the classroom,” Bowers said.

George’s family has also filed a formal complaint with the Texas Education Agency and a federal civil rights lawsuit against Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton, along with the school district, alleging they failed to enforce the CROWN Act. The lawsuit is before a federal judge in Galveston, Texas.

State District Judge Chap Cain III in Anahuac set a Feb. 22 trial in a lawsuit filed by the school district regarding whether its dress code restrictions limiting the length of boys’ hair violates the CROWN Act. The new Texas law, which took effect in September, prohibits race-based hair discrimination and bars employers and schools from penalizing people because of hair texture or protective hairstyles, including Afros, braids, locs, twists, or Bantu knots.