Hope Cozart was perplexed when she received a letter from her son Maddox’s school in April telling her he needed to cut his hair because it was too long. Even so, she obliged: She took Maddox to get a haircut, which consisted of shaved sides with a little more hair left at the top. Cozart would braid or plait her son’s hair to keep it out of his face.

But school officials from the Troy Independent School District, where Maddox was enrolled at Raymond Mays Middle School, outside of Temple, were still unhappy with the new cut. He was disciplined for breaking his school’s dress code, which at the time prohibited male students from wearing their hair in a ponytail, bun or top knot. Maddox was placed in in-school suspension for more than 10 days and later in lunch detention, Cozart said. Her daughter, who had a similar hairstyle, never faced any issues.

“He was getting pulled out of class daily, sometimes by multiple teachers, and examined like he was an object,” said Cozart, noting that her son is biracial and that his hair style relates to his Black culture. “One time they called in three different people to examine his head to make sure that it was OK for him to be in class.”

Cozart’s experience is part of a series of recent conflicts across the state over school dress codes, some of which have turned into civil rights court battles over gender and race.

In the Houston area, a lawsuit filed against Magnolia ISD in October accused the district of violating Title IX and students’ 14th Amendment protections by prohibiting male students from wearing long hair. This month, the district’s school board reached a settlement agreement and voted to eliminate its gender-based policy on hair.

Read the full article about school dress code policies in Texas by Allyson Waller at The 74.