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Suit: School Didn't Like Teen's Haircut. Out Came a Sharpie

School staffers said Texas teen's fade haircut violated dress code
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2019 10:15 AM CDT
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Stock photo.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – A lawsuit against a school district and three white staffers at Texas' Berry Miller Junior High School alleges a dress-code violation ended with a 13-year-old boy being publicly humiliated and subjected to racial discrimination. Per NBC News, Dante Trice and Angela Washington's complaint—which names the Pearland Independent School District, then-assistant principal Tony Barcelona, discipline officer Helen Day, and teacher Jeanette Peterson—alleges that their son, IDed only as "JT," showed up to his seventh grade classes on April 17 with a fade haircut. The cut "did not depict anything violent, gang-related, obscene, or otherwise offensive or inappropriate," but the suit alleges Barcelona approached JT and sent him to Day for being "out of dress code."

Day then allegedly offered JT the choice of an in-school suspension or a second option: to have his scalp colored in with a black Sharpie. Because he'd never been in trouble before, the teen chose the Sharpie, and Day and Peterson took turns marking up JT's head, with Barcelona watching and all three adults laughing, the suit claims. It adds: "The jet-black markings did not cover the haircut design line but made the design more prominent." JT's parents allege the Sharpie didn't come off for days and led to bullying, anxiety, and depression. The school district said it did not condone the move but the AFP reports it verified JT was in violation of the dress code, which banned "extreme hair styles such as carvings, mohawks, spikes, etc."; NBC reports fade haircuts are now allowed. Meanwhile, Barcelona has since been promoted to principal. (Read more racial discrimination stories.)

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