Texas schools could eventually be required to alter dress code policies regarding male students’ hair length after a U.S. district court ruled similar regulations at a Houston-area school district unconstitutional in August.
For now, Louise ISD plans to maintain its current short-hair policy.
LISD Superintendent Garth Oliver discussed the district’s dress code with trustees at the school board’s meeting last week, but the board took no action regarding the policy.
“As of right now, we don’t want to do anything with it,” Oliver said.
In the case De’Andre Arnold v. Barbers Hill ISD, a judge deemed the district’s dress code requiring only male students, but not female students, to keep their hair short in violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause on Aug. 17. The judge also ruled such policies can be racially discriminatory.
The incident leading up to the court case garnered national attention earlier this year when Arnold and fellow student Kaden Bradford, black students with shoulder-length dreadlocks, were suspended after their district’s dress code changed. The students refused to cut their hair, citing their hairstyles’ importance in their Trinidadian culture.
LISD’s current dress code requires male and female students to maintain a clean and well-groomed hairstyle that does not obstruct the student’s vision. Male students’ hair is not allowed to touch their shirt collars.
Also at the last session, the school board approved the district’s asynchronous learning plan, which is required by the TEA, and the plan was later submitted.
If Louise schools were to shut down due to the pandemic, as they did in March, the district would utilize an asynchronous remote learning model, where the student can complete lessons at their own pace.
LISD’s non-emergency remote education program was discontinued effective last week due to students’ low grades. LISD administrators made the decision to end the program after a discussion with trustees.
The Texas Comptroller approved an amendment to the district’s abatement agreement with solar company Hecate Energy where the company asked for a delay in the project due to the ongoing pandemic. Monday, the board voted to finalize the amendment, with board member Jay Heard dissenting.
“It was the final step in the process of allowing them to delay their start,” LISD Superintendent Garth Oliver said.
Also on the agenda was a donation of school supplies from the local 4-H group. The board voted for the district to accept the donation.
“The 4-H didn’t come because of the weather from the tropical storm,” Oliver said. “Whenever they decide to come and to bring it, then we can accept it.”