Boy's hair leads to school lawsuit

October 2, 2008 3:35:36 PM PDT
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas has filed suit against Needvile ISD in connection with the hair of a five-year-old boy. The ACLU says it sued Needville ISD for punishing five-year-old Adriel Arocha over his long hair. The boy is a Native American kindergarten student, and keeps his hair long due to his family's religious beliefs and heritage.

The district told Arocha's parents the boy could keep his long hair only if he wears it in a single, thick braid and keeps it down the back of his shirt at all times. Adriel's parents have refused to subject their son to this policy. As punishment for non-compliance with its dress code policy, NISD has segregated Adriel from his kindergarten class and assigned him to In-School Suspension (ISS) every school day since Sept. 3. ISS is the harshest discipline the law permits for a child his age.

Lisa Grabel with the ACLU Texas said, "In Houston's climate, the idea of having a thick rope of hair shoved down your shirt every day certainly, I don't think arguably hygienic by any standard, and can serve no other purpose other than to humiliate this kid."

Needvile ISD's attorney has not returned our call for comment.

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