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ACLU says dress codes at several West Texas schools are discriminatory

Updated: Oct. 1, 2020 at 7:07 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The American Civil Liberties Union sent letters to nearly 500 school districts, asking them to revise dress code policies that discriminate based on sex and race, including Idalou, Shallowater, Levelland and Frenship ISD.

The letters come after a federal judge blocked a Houston area school from disciplining a student for wearing dreadlocks.

“We have seen black students the hardest hit from these policies, in addition to Dendre and his cousin Kaden Brandon, who were essentially kicked out of school for wearing locs," said Brian Klosterboer with the ACLU.

Many other cultures and religious groups have also been negatively impacted by these polices, Klosterboer said.

“Sometimes native American males wear their hair long as part of their religious and cultural beliefs. We have also seen LBGTQ students hurt by this as well. We have also seen students wear long hair for religious reasons. Two Catholic students in Mathis, Texas had to sue a school district because it wouldn’t let them wear long hair as a promise to God," Klosterboer said.

After the recent court ruling, The Texas Association of School Boards has revised their recommendations to school districts. Most school districts follow these guidelines.

“Based on the recent case law, they should try to adopt gender neutral policies to avoid the discrimination and harm," Klosterboer said.

School boards will have to vote and decide if they want to change dress code policy.

Frenship ISD released this statement:

Thank you for your inquiry regarding the recently decided temporary injunction case against a school in the Southern District of Texas. Frenship ISD’s school board has not had an opportunity to review the facts of that preliminary injunction case and its impact on the current state of the law and our dress and grooming code.

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