Thursday, November 18, 2021

Native American Parents Can Move Ahead With Suit Challenging School's Cutting of Children's Hair

In Johnson v. Cody-Kilgore Unified School District,(D NE, Nov. 10, 2021), a Nebraska federal district court allowed Native American parents (members of the Rosebud Sioux tribe) who practice traditional Lakota religious traditions to move ahead with several of their claims growing out of the school's cutting of their children's hair as part of a lice check. The school's cutting and disposing of the hair violates Lakota tradition. Plaintiffs claim that the school had an unwritten policy of cutting hair during lice checks that only applied to Native American students. The court allowed plaintiffs to proceed with their free exercise and Title VI racial discrimination claims. The court however dismissed plaintiffs' 14th Amendment parental rights claim. The Reader reports on the decision.