Dante Trice and Angela Washington have filed a lawsuit against the Pearland Independent School District in Texas after faculty members allegedly coloring in their son J.T.’s fade haircut with a black Sharpie marker.
According to the lawsuit, the 13-year-old boy got a fade haircut with a design line on April 16 that that resembled an M.
As stated in the lawsuit, “The haircut did not depict anything violent, gang-related, obscene or otherwise offensive or inappropriate in any manner. J.T. did not believe the haircut violated any school policy.”
However, the next day, principal Tony Barcelona told J.T. that he had to go to the discipline office because he was out of dress code.
The school’s discipline clerk, Helen Day, told J.T. that he could either take an in-school suspension, which would cause him to miss classes and lose his place on the track team, or have the line designed colored in with a marker.
J.T. had never gotten into trouble at school before. He didn’t want to have the suspension on his record and he did not want to get kicked off the track team so he chose to have his his colored on.
Day began coloring in J.T.’s scalp with a black marker as Barcelona watched. A teacher, Jeanette Peterson, dropped by the office later to assist in coloring the boy’s fade. The lawsuit claims that the three laughed while doing this.
“The jet-black markings did not cover the haircut design line but made the design more prominent and such was obvious to those present at the very beginning of the scalp blackening process,” the suit said.
The lawsuit says the ink didn’t come off J.T.’s head for days. He was made fun of by other students and got called names such as, “thug.” The mocking caused him mental anguish, anxiety and depression.
Trice and Washington tried to get ahold of the district superintendent before they filed the lawsuit but they never got a response.
“Due to the lack of training, lack of proper policies, lack of employee discipline, failure to fire or reassign the individual defendants, and a pattern of racial discrimination J.T. is likely to experience further instances of discriminatory actions at the Pearland ISD,” the lawsuit said.