Native American Kindergarten Student Punished for Having Long Hair
November 19, 2021
On November 11, 2021, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas filed a complaint to the United States Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights on behalf of Paola Torres and Daniel Rodriguez. They're the parents of J.R., a 5-year-old kindergarten student who has been penalized with in-school suspension, isolated from his peers, for having long hair while attending Martinez Elementary School.
"We filed a complaint with the US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights because they have the power to investigate any civil rights violation in any school that receives federal funding," said ACLU of Texas Attorney Brian Klosterboer to Native News Online. "The complaint is challenging the discriminatory dress and grooming code practices at Sharyland ISD."
J.R. wears his hair long because of his cultural heritage and religious beliefs-he's Native American and Latino. Other men in his family wear long hair and his parents have never cut his hair. Since he started school, he has been targeted and placed in in-school-suspension, denying him the opportunity to learn with his peers. He has spent over a month isolated at school, and has fallen behind in his school work.