A Texas school district has been hit with a federal lawsuit after allegedly suspending six boys and one nonbinary student for having long hair. The Magnolia Independent School District in Houston maintains a strict policy that not only calls for “clean, well-groomed” hair and a “natural hair color,” but also bans male students from having a beard, mustache, long sideburns, or hair longer than the bottom of the ear. NBC News reports that seven students have filed a federal lawsuit against the district through the Texas ACLU for suspending them because of their hairdo. The students are alleging that the district violated their constitutional rights and Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or other education program that receives federal money. The students are seeking an injunction to stop the strict policy’s enforcement.
“They have been denied classroom instruction, barred from extracurricular activities, and forced to be suspended and separated from their peers for well over a month simply because these students do not conform to Magnolia ISD’s stereotypical notions of gender,” reads the suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the South District of Texas.