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What is the CROWN Act at center of Texas teen’s school suspension over dreadlocks?

A Texas judge ruled Thursday that the suspension of a Houston-area Black teenager over his hair length didn’t violate the CROWN Act.

18-year-old Darryl George was place on in-school suspension for months because of the length of his dreadlocks. The judge found that Barbers Hill High School’s rule that a male student’s hair could not be below his eyebrows or ear lobes when let down as not in violation of the CROWN Act.

But what is the CROWN Act?

The CROWN Act stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. In September 2023, a version of the CROWN Act went into effect in Texas making it illegal to discriminate based off of natural hair texture and protective styles.

Rep. Rhetta Bowers of Dallas County introduced the CROWN Act in Texas.

“It will make sure that we are not kept from thriving whether that’s in our schools, in classrooms or in the workplace,” Bowers told the Star-Telegram in 2022. “When we walk in a room or we’re in a classroom, we want to be taken seriously and accepted fully for who we are and as we are.”

Currently there is not a national CROWN Act but it was introduced to Congress in 2021.

In May 2022, the Star-Telegram looked into hair discrimination and talked with a TCU student who founded a natural hair group on campus and a mother whose son 11-year-old son was suspended for his braided hair style.