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Hair discrimination doesn’t only occur in the workplace, but oftentimes in the very place we send our kids off to go learn.
Seventeen-year-old Dyree Williams has been out of school for months. Why? Because of his hair.
When he and his family moved from Cincinnati, Ohio, to East Bernard, 50 miles outside of Houston, Texas, in February, his new school’s dress code policy stated that “braided hair or corn rows will not be allowed,” per CNN.
After complaints by his mother and uproar from the community, the East Bernard Independent School District in Texas has now reportedly removed its code of conduct from its website.
Policies, like laws, can be discriminatory.
As reported by the Houston Chronicle, the policy is no longer online. TheGrio previously noted that direct language from the East Bernard Independent School District dress code, reviewed by CNN, states that students are banned from wearing anything the district considers “extremes in hair styles,” including “braided hair or corn rows.”
The policy, which was available last week, prohibited male students from having hair that extends “below the eyebrows, below the tops of the ears or below a conventional standup shirt collar.”
Regardless of the policy, Dyree’s mother Desiree Bullock wasn’t going for any hair discrimination.
“Once you cut that hair off, you cut off your line to your ancestors, you cut off your lineage, you cut off everything,” says Bullock.
“We don’t consider them dreadlocks because we don’t dread them, we love them,” she told the outlet.
The school denied Bullock’s request for an exemption, per the report.
The C.R.O.W.N. Act would prevent hair discrimination.
“East Bernard ISD’s hair policy is deeply discriminatory and needs to be changed,” Brian Klosterboer, attorney for the ACLU of Texas told CNN. “The policy contains explicit gender discrimination that recent court decisions have found to be unconstitutional and violate Title IX, and it also explicitly bans ‘braided hair or twisted rows/strands,’ which is a proxy for race discrimination and disproportionately harms Black students in the district.”
I’m not sure if they are making changes,” he said Tuesday after the code of conduct was removed from the district’s website. “It could mean that they’re updating and changing it or maybe they just took it down and they’re still enforcing it.”
The school district maintains Dyree is not banned due to hair discrimination.
The Grio reports district superintendent Courtney Hudgins told Click2Houston last week that “East Bernard ISD has not denied enrollment to the individual involved in this situation, as no enrollment or registration documents have been filed.”