According to NBC News, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction on Monday (Aug 17) to allow Kaden Bradford to keep his locs without facing suspension. Bradford’s “rights under the Equal Protection Clause and the First Amendment will be violated if his motion for a preliminary injunction is denied, and he has additionally shown that he will receive either inferior instruction or no instruction if his motion is denied,” the court stated.
The case came after Bradford and his cousin, DeAndre Arnold, were punished by Barbers Hill High School officials because of their hair. Arnold was forced to miss his graduation ceremony in May while Bradford was confined to suspension.
The incoming junior also faced the possibility of indefinite in-school suspension and exclusion from school activities as the new school year begins. But Bradford can now attend school without repercussions after winning his lawsuit.
According to The Texas Tribune, the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund represented Bradford in his case after Janai Nelson, NAACP Legal Defense Fund associate director-counsel, said the teenager’s hair is “an immutable part of his Black identity and cultural heritage” and that he shouldn’t have to “endure an unjust and educationally damaging in-school suspension simply for having uncut locs.”
Bradford’s Attorney Michaele Turnage Young told The Tribune that the landmark decision was a step “in the right direction.”
“Locs are communicative, they express pride in one’s Black racial heritage, family heritage,” Michaele Turnage Young said. “It’s 2020, this is a basic recognition, but to have a federal court recognize that, it’s a huge step in the right direction.”
Earlier this year after the story went viral, received widespread support after his story went viral. Ellen DeGeneres and Alicia Keys awarded a $20,000 scholarship to the Texas student, as Blavity previously reported. Gabrielle Union and her husband, Dwyane Wade, also invited the teenager as a guest to the Oscars.