Students suing Texas school district that bans long hair on boys

Seven students are suing a Texas school district over its policy banning boys from having long hair, with violators potentially being suspended or kicked off campus.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and the ACLU Women's Rights Project filed a lawsuit on behalf of the seven students, ages seven to 17, against Magnolia Independent School District.

The complaint says a 9-year-old boy was kept in in-school suspensions for more than a month and removed from campus before the boy eventually dropped out of school. He is currently homeschooled.

“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,” said Brian Klosterboer, a staff attorney at the ACLU of Texas.

“At a time when students have already been through so much due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is outrageous that Magnolia ISD administrators are pushing students out of school because of their gender and hair,” he added.

The school policy states boys can not wear their hair over their eyes, past the bottom of their ear or past the bottom of a dress shirt collar. 

The lawsuit states the school previously allowed students to wear long hair with no issues, but has recently arbitrarily applied the policy to some male students. 

“Although Plaintiffs previously wore long hair in Magnolia ISD without incident for years, the district decided to vigorously enforce its gender-based hair restrictions this school year by punishing or threatening to punish Plaintiffs for wearing long hair,” the lawsuit states, saying the policy has caused “irreparable harm.”

The school has previously defended its policy telling KPRC in August the policy “reflects the values of our community at large” and has “been approved by the Texas courts and continues to be used by roughly half the districts in the state of Texas.”

ACLU is arguing the policy violates the equal protection clause under the 14th amendment and Title IX.

“It feels dehumanizing to have school, a government entity, force me to cut my hair and meet their expectations of appearances,” Daniel Hoosier, a student who reluctantly cut their hair after one day of in-school suspension, told the Houston Chronicle.

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