A Texas school board is now facing a lawsuit after a black child was suspended for wearing braided hair to school.
Hope Cozart, mother of 11 year-old Maddox Cozart, has retained an attorney after learning her son was placed in in-school detention as a result of his haircut.
According to KCEN-TV, Cozart stated Maddox and his sisters wanted to learn more about their African Heritage and wanted a braided hairstyle.
“We try to teach our kids about all of their culture. Black, White, Native American, everything.” Cozart said. “They like to explore their culture. We looked at African Tribes and how they braid their hair up. Bantu Knots and all the meanings of all that.”
A Troy mother said her son has been given in-school suspension and does his work in a cubicle because of his braided hairstyle. https://t.co/HWU103Z72f— KCENNews (@6NewsCTX) April 16, 2021
According to the Troy Independent School Board (ISD) issued student handbook, Maddox’s haircut was in violation of how students hair is to be worn. The handbook states, “In grades 2-12, hair: d. May not be worn in a ponytail, top knot, bun, or similar styles.”
A letter sent on the behalf of the Cozart family to the school district by the McCoy Law firm stated, “Maddox was then given in-school suspension (“ISS”) April 5, 2021, based on his hairstyle. Maddox has since been given ISS every subsequent school day as a result of his hairstyle. This action has denied Maddox an education equal to that of the other students at Raymond Mays Middle School. As Maddox has been placed in a cubicle away from his classmates while on ISS, Maddox has also been denied any real opportunity for socialization, which is critical to any students’ development and education, especially considering the isolation all children have experienced this past year due to the pandemic.”
“I think that their dress code policies are outdated,” McCoy said. “There’s a lot of Texas independent school districts that have outdated policies which prevent male students from having ponytails, pigtails, buns. It has no legitimate basis at all. It has nothing to do with educating the students. Clearly to me, it’s discriminatory to his race and his culture.”