Texas high school accused of violating CROWN Act, same school of teen who inspired the law

Just outside of Barbers Hill High School in Chambers County, surrounded by activists and state lawmakers, Dareesha George heads to the podium to address members of the media for the first time.

"I just want to say that I want my son to get the education he needs and not be discriminated against because of his hair," says George.

Her son Darryl is a junior, but this is his first year at Barbers Hill.

Daresha says from day one, things got off to a rocky start with school officials.

SUGGESTED: CROWN Act signed into law in Texas by Governor Greg Abbott, in effect Sept. 1

The family was told that Darryl's hair, which is in locs, was too long.

"Because they know his hair is long, every day he comes to school he will be in ISS because they know when it's let down it's below his eyelids and ear lobes," says George.

Darryl received in-school suspension because according to the school, it violates school policy.

In a statement to FOX 26, the district says, "The Barbers Hill ISD dress code is not in conflict with the CROWN Act."

DeAndre Arnold, now a junior at LSU, went to Barbers Hill HS and made national headlines in 2020 when he too received in-school suspension for the length of his hair.

He says, "You know, I have to be completely honest. I can't say that I am surprised. This is not something that comes as a shock to me. I went there I know how it is." He goes on to say, "Whenever we come up against obstacles like this, we have to show that we are unwavering, and we will fight to the end to fight for what we believe in."

Arnold fought for his right to wear his natural hair as an expression of his culture.

Lawmakers got involved and three years later, the CROWN Act is now law in Texas, passing with bipartisan support.

So, we asked the author and co-authors of the bill, Representative Rhetta Andrews Bowers and Representative Ron Reynolds, if the length of someone's hair is specifically addressed in the law and they both say it should matter.

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Representative Reynolds got right to the point, "HB567 is the law and currently Barbers Hill HS is violating the law. If the school district will not abide by the state law and the Republicans in charge will not enforce it then we are going to demand the US Department of Justice and the Justice Department, under federal law intervene."

Representative Bowers echoed those words, "I believe that his hair in the style that he wears it should be and is protected under the CROWN Act.

DeAndre Arnold, the young man who started this push for change years ago, has one piece of advice for Darryl and every student across the state. "Be yourself and don't let anybody else tell you that that's not ok, because I know what that's like."