The Magnolia Independent School District in Texas is being sued by seven students over its rules that boys must have short hair.
School district guidelines state that boys’ hair must be ‘no longer than the bottom of a dress shirt collar, bottom of the ear, and out of the eyes’.
Among those bringing legal action against their school district is a nine-year-old boy whose school took extreme measures to force him to get a haircut.
According to The Independent, the boy identified as AC was forced to serve a month-long suspension from school, had his recess and lunch breaks removed, was banned from his school’s campus and eventually sent to another school as part of efforts to encourage him to have short hair.
The lawsuit says having long hair ‘adds to AC’s self-confidence and is an important part of his family heritage’, hence he won’t get it cut shorter to comply with the school district rules.
Involved in the lawsuit are six boys and one non-binary student ranging in ages from seven to 17, they argue that the ban on long hair, which only applies to boys, is based on outdated gender stereotypes.
They also claim that school officials are selectively applying the ban to some students and not others, arguing that it has caused ‘immense and irreparable harm’.
Staff attorney Brian Klosterboer of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, which filed the lawsuit against the school district containing 13,000 students, said, ‘We have warned the district repeatedly that its gender-based hair policy violates the Constitution, but the district continues to derail students’ lives and deny their right to a public education free from discrimination.’
School officials gave a statement on the dress code and hair length ban in August:
Magnolia ISD has used a dress code that sets different standards for boys and girls for many years.
For example, hair length for boys must be no longer than the bottom of the collar. This has been approved by the Texas courts and continues to be used by roughly half the districts in the state of Texas.
The differentiated dress and grooming standards do not violate Title IX and are included in the student handbook each year. Magnolia ISD’s approach to the dress code reflects the values of our community at large.
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Topics: News, hair, Lawsuit, School, Texas