Archer City ISD students and parents continue to fight grooming policy after school board’s decision

ARCHER CITY (KFDX/KJTL) — Students and parents in Archer City ISD are fed up with the district’s grooming policy.

The students and parents plead their case to the school board last night and the district unanimously voted to keep the policy the way it is.

The group cites an ACLU letter and district court cases as their defense that boys and girls must have equal dress codes. But they say school board officials weren’t having it.

The way that their hair is now, most of these boys that attend Archer City High would not be in compliance with their grooming policy.

“I remember the first time I ever got pulled out of class for my hair being too long. I was in first grade and it has been going on ever since and I’m a senior in high school now,” Archer City High senior Ransom McDonald said.

“So right now, would they make you go home and cut it or would they send you to ISS?”

“They would send me to is,” Archer City High senior Robert Salyers said.

The Archer City ISD handbook states boys’ and girls’ hair is to be clean, combed and uncovered with no disruptive colors or hairstyles.

But boys’ hair goes on to state boys cannot have hair over the eyes and that the ear must be uncovered.
When concerned parents and students took their voices to the school board, the board voted unanimously to change nothing.

“They gave us no reasoning for their decision. Other than in the handbook that they sent out today, in the notes, it said basically the same thing,” Archer City High parent Christy Salyers said.

The parents’ defense is an ACLU letter that was sent to almost 500 Texas schools last year that states public school grooming codes that punish male students but not female students for short hair is unconstitutional.

Students say a few teachers call their hair a distraction but these students say their hair is not a distraction and cutting it would affect them mentally.

“I have at points dreaded coming to school for the fear of them telling me to get a haircut or the way that I looked. I didn’t like the way that I looked. I just, I personally like the way I look with long hair. I don’t like to have short hair,” McDonald said.

“Having to cut my hair it borderline got me depressed. You have to comply otherwise you’re kicked out so you just have to do it no matter how it affects you so you just kind of gotta push through,” Archer City High senior Prayze Pierce said.

Although the school board refuses to change the policy, the fight is not over.

“My student’s never been in trouble, he’s gone to school here since he was in preschool. All of a sudden he’s gonna be shamed due to his hair and punished and sent into ISS. Which is taking away from his education, not giving him a good education. That’s not ok,” Salyers said.

Students and parents coming together to combat a policy they say needs to adjust to modern times.

The superintendent and school board officials could not be reached for comment.

Salyer says she has sent complaints to the Texas Education Agency and the office for civil rights. She also says an attorney should be reaching out this week so they can follow up with the district.

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