The ACLU of Texas filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of seven students against the Magnolia Independent School District for engaging in explicit gender discrimination. 

The lawsuit states that Magnolia Independent School District has severely punished students and, in some cases, forced them out of school altogether, because of their gender and the fact that they wear long hair. Magnolia ISD enforces a dress code based on gender stereotypes that requires boys, but not girls, to wear short hair. Despite past efforts to encourage Magnolia ISD to change this policy, the district has only intensified its punishment of certain students.

The students are asking the court to allow them to return to school and receive an education without being forced to cut their hair, and for Magnolia ISD to change its unlawful policy that discriminates based on gender. This discriminatory, gender-based hair policy violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

Update 11/4/21: The judge in this case granted a preliminary injunction that was jointly agreed upon by the parties. Magnolia ISD agreed not to enforce any gender-specific provisions of the district’s dress and grooming code against any student in the district while this case is pending.

Update 12/14/21: The school board for Magnolia ISD voted to reverse its discriminatory dress code. Students who were previously disciplined under this policy will have their records expunged and Magnolia ISD’s dress code will now be gender neutral.

Date filed

October 21, 2021


U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, Houston Division



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