Magnolia ISD school board declines to take action on gender-based hair policy at Nov. 8 meeting

Magnolia ISD declined to take action on its gender-based dress code policies during its meeting Nov. 8. (Chandler France/Community Impact Newspaper)
Magnolia ISD declined to take action on its gender-based dress code policies during its meeting Nov. 8. (Chandler France/Community Impact Newspaper)

Magnolia ISD declined to take action on its gender-based dress code policies during its meeting Nov. 8. (Chandler France/Community Impact Newspaper)

For the first time since Magnolia ISD’s gender-based hair policy was brought up during public comments in August, the board of trustees placed the policy on its meeting agenda Nov. 8 as part of a Level 3 grievance appeal. After meeting in closed session with its attorney, the board declined to take any action regarding the policy.

The motion to decline taking action on the grievance appeal passed unanimously. In the motion, trustee Gary Blizzard said the board is not taking action because the dress code is part of pending litigation.

The district is facing a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, which alleges MISD’s gender-based policies violate Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported. On Nov. 4, the district agreed to temporarily pause enforcement of its gender-based hair policy, which states boys' hair cannot be longer than the bottom of a dress shirt collar, along with two other gender-based dress code standards, according to previous reporting.

Michael Berger Jr., whose grievance the school board heard at its meeting, said the process for trying to change the dress code has been frustrating, slow and tedious. His son, Tristan Berger, a junior at Magnolia High School, was forced to cut his hair after spending weeks in in-school suspension.

“I wish I never had to come here, and I wish I never had to do this,” Michael Berger Jr. said in an interview. “I wish [the school board] didn’t know who I was.”


Danielle Miller, mother of a nonbinary fifth grade student in the district, urged the board to permanently stop enforcement of its gender-based policies and change the dress code.

“This change cannot be temporary,” Miller said to board members during public comments Nov. 8. “This change needs to be permanent so that no child will ever have to face the harassment and bullying that these children have to endure this year by you.”

Although the school board did not take action at its Nov. 8 meeting, enforcement of the district’s gender-based policies is on hold until the end of litigation, which Brian Klosterboer, ACLU of Texas staff attorney, said he believes puts students in a better spot. Klosterboer said it is upsetting it took the district until November to place the dress code on the agenda.

“It is a little bit perplexing that they choose not to act sooner,” Klosterboer said in an interview with Community Impact Newspaper. “They heard from parents for the last three months complaining about this policy and asking them to change it. It’s sad that it took a federal lawsuit to get to [this] point.”

MISD declined to provide further comment.
By Chandler France

Reporter, Tomball/Magnolia

Chandler joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in June 2021 after graduating with a degree in journalism from the University of Southern California, where he was the executive editor of Annenberg Media. He previously interned with the company in Gilbert, AZ and with the Beacon Project, an investigative reporting team in Los Angeles. Chandler is originally from Laguna Hills, CA.



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