11-year-old Malcolm Cozart recently was the subject of racial bias and an outdated student guidebook.
Cozart recently approached his mother, Hope Cozart, wanting to learn more about his culture, since his mother is White and his father is Black.
The pair began to study African tribal practices, including their hairdos and the cultural significance behind them.
Hope Cozart explained:
"We try to teach our kids about all of their culture. Black, White, Native-American, everything."
"They like to explore their culture. We looked at African Tribes and how they braid their hair up. Bantu knots and all the meanings of all that."
But when Cozart returned to school with his new braids, he was immediately punished for his new appearance by being pulled out of the classroom.
The student spent an alarming 9 days in in-school suspension instead of participating in his classes and receiving an education.
In the room where Cozart stayed, he sat at a small cubicle in an empty room. A teacher was present, but they were not there to educate Cozart or to engage with him, unless he misbehaved.
Hope Cozart spoke out about this, calling out the Troy Independent School District for their outdated school dress code and their unsavory treatment of students and their education. She decided to pursue legal action against the school in an effort to see her son return to his studies.
Cozart's attorney, Attorney Waukeen McCoy, gave the school a deadline of Thursday at noon to return Cozart to his classroom.
"I think that their dress code policies are outdated."
"There's a lot of Texas independent school districts that have outdated policies which prevent male students from having ponytails, pigtails, buns. It has no legitimate basis at all. It has nothing to do with educating the students."
"Clearly, to me, it's discriminatory to his race and his culture."
You can watch more about the incident here:
Some had distinct opinions about this incident.
A few simply took a moment to express their condolences.
@6NewsCTX I'm so angry and sad that this kind of thing would happen. A lot of people need to step back and talk a… https://t.co/LpZvXzbQ6F— Kim Hager (@Kim Hager) 1618899346.0
@6NewsCTX Where is there a law in the constitution that said you can’t braid your child’s hair ? You got this mom ... ❤️— Tina Parks Reddy (@Tina Parks Reddy) 1618836033.0
Others couldn't believe this was still happening in 2021.
@6NewsCTX Is this real? I'm lost. He's suspended for having his hair in a braid? So again more frivolous microaggre… https://t.co/x7L7Y5YchY— Volatile🖤Unicorn (@Volatile🖤Unicorn) 1618888443.0
@6NewsCTX The teacher that placed him into a cubicle by himself should be ashamed. A good teacher wouldn't have went for that shyt.— Derek (@Derek) 1618930940.0
@6NewsCTX I can’t believe this is happening in 2021. They are keeping this child from learning because of a hairsty… https://t.co/LWYX9BtrOd— Abby (@Abby) 1618890539.0
@6NewsCTX Another example of racism where whites punish Black people 4 not adhering to white standards of appearanc… https://t.co/UIgS3L9bTX— D.Jordan (@D.Jordan) 1618899016.0
The school district up to this point has insisted Cozart's hairstyle violated their dress code, which prevents male students from wearing braids, ponytails, or buns regardless of standard practices within their race or culture.
Further conversations clearly need to be had, especially for students of color and their observations of their cultures.