Texas School Board Keeps Ban on Boy's Long Hair

The parents of a 4-year-old boy disciplined for having long hair have rejected a compromise from a Texas school board that agreed to adjust its grooming policy.

The impasse means pre-kindergartner Taylor Pugh will remain in in-school suspension, sitting alone with a teacher's aide in a library. He has been sequestered from classmates at Floyd Elementary School in Mesquite, a Dallas suburb, since late November.

After a closed-door meeting Monday, the Mesquite school board decided the boy could wear his hair in tight braids but keep it no longer than his ears. But his parents say the adjustment isn't enough for Taylor, who wears his hair long, covering his earlobes and shirt collar.

His mother, Elizabeth Taylor, said she'll pull back Taylor's hair in a ponytail, acknowledging the style will keep him suspended.

"If I braid his hair, his scalp will bleed and his hair will break," Elizabeth Taylor said after the meeting.

According to the district dress code, boys' hair must be kept out of the eyes and cannot extend below the bottom of earlobes or over the collar of a dress shirt. Fads in hairstyles "designed to attract attention to the individual or to disrupt the orderly conduct of the classroom or campus is not permitted," the policy states.

The district is known for standing tough on its dress code. Last year, a seventh-grader was sent home for wearing black skinny pants. His parents chose to home-school him.

On its Web site, the district says its code is in place because "students who dress and groom themselves neatly, and in an acceptable and appropriate manner, are more likely to become constructive members of the society in which we live."

Taylor said her fight is not over. She and her husband are considering taking the district to court or appealing to the State Board of Education.

"I know that there are a whole set of steps we can take," she said.