If ever there was a perfect justification for throwing hands, it’s the discovery that staffers at your 7th grader’s middle school filled in his fade with a Sharpie.
Thankfully, however, cooler heads prevailed, and instead of snatching the soul out of the offending party’s chests, a federal civil rights lawsuit was filed instead.
A federal civil rights lawsuit was filed on Sunday against a Texas school district and three officials after they took disciplinary action for a student’s haircut, court documents say.
In April, school officials at Pearland Independent School District used marker to color in the design shaved into a 13-year-old boy’s haircut because they say it did not adhere to the district’s dress code, KHOU reported.
The code states that “hair must be neat, clean and well-groomed. Extreme hair styles such as carvings, mohawks, spikes, etc. are not allowed,” according to the news outlet.
This is an extreme hairstyle?
The federal civil rights lawsuit, filed by Dante Trice and Angela Washington, alleges that their son Juelz was both “humiliated and shamed” by what transpired and details how principal Tony Barcelona, teacher Jeanette Peterson and school discipline clerk Helen Day “took turns drawing on his head while they laughed,” according to KHOU.
“I was mad. I was really mad,” Dante told KHOU. “I just imagine three people holding him down with a marker against his will.”
The district issued a formal apology and has since updated their dress code policy, but neither erases the embarrassment or anguish that Juelz or his family endured.
“That’s assault, and we’ve sued for assault,” civil rights attorney Randall Kallinen told KHOU.
It’s not exactly a secret that black children’s hairstyles are disproportionally policed by schools and that they are subject to higher disciplinary actions than their white counterparts, but what those statistics don’t account for is the trauma, seeds of self-doubt and other long-term effects that are sown. As a result of this incident, Juelz has suffered from both anxiety and depression in its aftermath, according to NBC News.
In response to this lawsuit, Tanya Dawson, the district’s general counsel, issued the following statement to KHOU:
Other than media reports, Pearland ISD has yet to receive notification of the lawsuit. Upon receipt, it will be reviewed by our legal counsel. No further comment will be provided at this time.
Regardless of the battle that lies ahead, Juelz’s parents demand justice.
“My son don’t want this going on,” Dante said. “We don’t want this going on, but something has got to happen.”