Texas

Magnolia ISD sued with gender-based dress code

Daniel Miller says her 11-year-old child was identified as having non-dual or gender fluidity and was punished for having hair on her shoulders.

Magnolia, Texas — Magnolia ISD is facing a lawsuit over a dress code policy from the American Civil Liberties Union in Texas, and has been disciplined for having multiple students with long hair.

Daniel Miller, the mother of Magnolia ISD, said she learned that she had a problem with her 11-year-old hair on the second day of her school year.

“Tristan has long hair up to the shoulders,” Miller said.

Tristan is non-binary, which is what many people are still learning.

“Tristan doesn’t feel like a boy or a girl at all. Sometimes it feels like both, sometimes it doesn’t feel like either. It’s genderfluid.”

Related: Magnolia ISD has filed a proceeding over the dress code gender-based hair policy.

She said the district, which considers Tristan a boy, suspended the student while the issue was being resolved, before agreeing to the grace period.

“You dehumanized me”

However, Tristan is not the only one to be disciplined for wearing too long hair.

The proceedings have nominated six schoolboys aged 7 to 17 years.

“You have depressed me by dehumanizing me and forcing me to cut my hair or stay on the ISS,” said a student at a recent school board meeting.

“Many parents, 10, 15, and 20 parents talked about the dress code from August and we faced silence,” Miller said.

According to the proceedings, Magnolia ISD’s gender-based policy “imposed enormous and irreparable harm” to students, some of which had no effect while attending school in the district. Some claim that they wore long hair for years.

“Not really conscientious”

The proceedings state that students were sent to school suspension threats or suspensions for several weeks at a time. Some were placed in the “Interdisciplinary Alternative Education Program”, three of whom dropped out of the school district. The proceedings also state that plaintiffs have been disciplined for hair length, but other long-haired students, such as high school football team students, have not faced disciplinary action.

“You’ll be kicked out of school just because your gender and hair aren’t really conscientious,” said Brian Crossturboa, a Texas staff lawyer.

Magnolia ISD responds

According to the Magnolia ISD 2021-22 Student Handbook, hair “must be under the collar, under the ears, and outside the eyes of a dress shirt for male students.” Also, the hair cannot be “pinned in any way” or “worn in a ponytail or bun for boys”.

However, the ACLU claims that many of the plaintiffs have been wearing long hair for years while at Magnolia ISD and have not faced any disciplinary action until this year, Texas Tribune reports. doing.

Klosterboer said some Texas school districts tend to rely on “old and outdated case law” as the basis for their dress code policy.

Magnolia ISD has issued a statement that it is looking forward to addressing this issue in court.

“The Magnolia ISD Board and Management Committee heard from a small group of parents who recently asked questions about MISD’s dress and grooming standards. The district said in a statement.” Management and Board are now dissatisfied with parents. On this subject. Magnolia ISD respects different perspectives and respects the citizens’ right to advocate for change. ”

According to the Magnolia ISD 2021-22 Student Handbook, hair “must be under the collar, under the ears, and outside the eyes of a dress shirt for male students.” Also, the hair cannot be “pinned in any way” or “worn in a ponytail or bun for boys”.

But, as they claim, there is no information on why long-haired students have not been disciplined in the last few years.

“It could have been absolutely avoided,” Miller said.

Full text of Magnolia ISD:

Magnolia ISD received a copy of a federal proceeding from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) today, which challenges MISD student dress and grooming standards. The district is considering the claims filed in the proceedings with a lawyer and is looking forward to the opportunity to respond to the court. The Magnolia ISD Board and Management Committee has heard from a small group of parents who recently asked questions about MISD’s dress and grooming standards. The administration and the board are currently considering parental complaints on this subject. Magnolia ISD respects different perspectives and we respect the right of citizens to advocate change.

Similar to Texas and hundreds of public school districts across the country, MISD’s dress and grooming rules distinguish between men’s and women’s dress and grooming standards. Specifically, the MISD dress and grooming code requires schoolboys to keep their hair “longer than the bottom of the dress shirt collar.” This system of differentiated attire and grooming standards has been confirmed by the courts and does not preclude equal access to educational opportunities under Title IX. The rules are included in the Student Handbook each year and are similar to the rules of about half of Texas public school districts.

Schools are regularly required to provide tax exemption or accommodation based on factors such as religious practices, gender identity issues, or student accommodation planning due to disabilities. Magnolia ISD considers all legal factors when considering such requirements.

Jason Miles on Social Media: Facebook | twitter | Instagram

Texas Tribune News Partner contributed to this report.



Magnolia ISD sued with gender-based dress code

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