A federal judge blocked Mont Belvieu, Texas’s Barbers Hill School District from enforcing a dress code policy that dictates that male students must keep their hair at ear length or shorter after two Black students were suspended over the length of their locs.
The incident drew widespread attention back in January after Kaden Bradford and DeAndre Arnold were ordered to cut their locs or face discipline. Both students attended Barbers Hill High School in the Barbers Hill School District. Arnold, a senior, was told that he would be barred from walking in his school’s graduation ceremony, while Bradford, 16, would be indefinitely confined to in-school suspension,” the Texas Tribune reports.
Arnold already graduated, although he was prevented from participating in the ceremony because of the policy, which some have called racist, according to NBC News. Bradford, however, is being given “temporary relief” as the duo’s lawsuits against the school continue to be processed.
The court ruling noted that Bradford “has shown a substantial likelihood that his rights under the Equal Protection Clause and the First Amendment will be violated if his motion for a preliminary injunction is denied, and he has additionally shown that he will receive either inferior instruction or no instruction if his motion is denied.”
“Locs are communicative; they express pride in one’s Black racial heritage, family heritage,” said Michaele Turnage Young, an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, who is representing both students, to the Texas Tribune. “It’s 2020. This is a basic recognition…. But to have a federal court recognize that, it’s a huge step in the right direction.”