PEARLAND, Texas – A federal lawsuit has been filed against three Pearland Independent School District employees after being accused of coloring in student's haircut with a black permanent marker.
The school district said that April 17, a Berry Miller Junior High School campus administrator told the 13-year-old boy that his new haircut was in violation of the school's dress code and gave the boy the following options: notify his mother, receive disciplinary action or fill in the shape of the missing hair with a marker.
The student chose the last option.
What is the lawsuit saying?
The lawsuit claims the child's African-American "Fade" haircut with designed lines had violated the district's dress code policy.
"Despite this extremely shameful behavior and history of racial discrimination the Pearland ISD has doubled down and now installed Tony Barcelona as head principal of the Berry Miller Junior High School, kept Day and Peterson in their current positions, and refused to meet with Juelz's parents to discuss their behavior or any training of Pearland ISD employees," said civil rights and plaintiffs' lawyer Randall Kallinen.
Dante Trice and Angela Washington said that their son’s middle school years were ruined after administrators humiliated him at school.
The boy's parents said they were never notified about the code violation. They said if they would have been contacted, they would have shortened their son's hair to get rid of the line design that same day.
The lawsuit claims the child was humiliated and shamed as the employees laughed while coloring in his hair design.
“He’s really uncomfortable,” Trice said.
Washington said she feels terrible that her son has to deal with these questions.
“He’s going to remember this for the rest of his life,” she said.
The parents said that they tried for months to try to contact district officials but did not get a response.
“All of this could have been resolved a long time ago,” Trice said.
What is the district saying?
The district responded to the lawsuit Monday, saying, "Other than media reports, Pearland ISD has yet to receive notification of the lawsuit. Upon receipt, it will be reviewed by our legal counsel. No further comment will be provided at this time."
A court date has not been set, according to the family attorney.