The Texas Legislative Black Caucus (TxLBC) is aware of the situation where high school junior, Dyree Williams, was not allowed to enroll into East Bernard High School in East Bernard, TX, because his braided hair did not comply with the school district’s dress code policy.
The high school’s Student Code of Conduct, which has since been removed from their website, states that “[b]raided hair or corn rows will not be allowed.”
State Representative Nicole Collier, Chair of the TxLBC had this to say, “East Bernard High School’s policy banning the wearing of corn rows or braids serves as a means to justify discrimination based on one’s race and gender. The way one wears their hair is a personal choice and those policies in our public schools that prohibit natural hairstyles such as cornrows, braids or even dreadlocks do not reflect the rich diversity of Texas. This is a growing problem in Texas and it distracts from the real work that needs to be done in our schools.”
State Representative Rhetta Bowers, Secretary of TxLBC and the author of the CROWN Act in the 87th Regular Session said, “it is situations like this that inspired the creation of the CROWN Act, and emphasize the need for it to be passed in Texas. There is no reason why a student’s natural hairstyle should hinder their ability to receive a quality education within the Texas public school system.”
State Senator Royce West, member of TxLBC and the Texas Senate Committee on Education said, “Texas public school policies must be fair and inclusive for all of Texas’ students. Students depend on our educational system for the tools and resources necessary for their educational success and growth as citizens. Is it not the role of educational leaders to deny a student access to the culmination of their educational journey because of their natural hair preference. Discrimination can worm its way into education policy and therefore, we must continuously do the work to root out discrimination and bias in our educational system, so that we can give our future leaders a fighting chance at success.”
The Texas Legislative Black Caucus is Chaired by State Representative Nicole Collier, (D-Fort Worth), and was formed in 1973 with eight founding members. Today, the TxLBC is a bipartisan, bicameral organization composed of 17 Members of the Texas House and two Senators in the Texas Senate. The combined constituent population for the members of the TxLBC is over four million Texans.