Students in the Magnolia Independent School District in suburban Houston must adhere to several requirements when it comes to their hairstyles. Those include keeping their locks “clean, well-groomed, and worn out of the eyes,” maintaining “appropriate hygiene at all times” and having a “natural hair color.”
For males, the districtwide policy is even stricter: no beards, mustaches or long sideburns; hair can’t be pinned up in a bun or held in a ponytail; and its length shouldn’t be longer than the bottom of the ear.
For at least six boys, and one student assigned male at birth who identifies as nonbinary, having hair longer than permitted has come at a steep cost this school year: They’ve been suspended.
A federal lawsuit filed Thursday on behalf of those students by the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas argues the punishment is biased and violates both their constitutional rights and Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools.