A 9-year-old Texas boy was told his long hair violated a decades-long grooming code at his school, prompting his mother, other parents and his classmates to speak out against the rule.

Habib Dwabi has been growing his hair for five years and now his long, curly locks go past his shoulder. Earlier this year, The Joshua Independent School District in Joshua, Texas, told Dwabi’s mother, Faye Abunijmeh, that her son was in violation of the school’s grooming code.

Several parents and students attended a Monday school board meeting to share their displeasure with the code.

“It’s very discriminatory towards our boys,” said one parent.

The superintendent says the code has been in place for at least 30 years.

The grooming code states hair should not come down past the top of the eyebrows or extend past the corner of the jawbone on the sides. Hair in the back “must be cut so that it is no longer than the bottom of the dress shirt collar or top of a t- shirt collar.”

“If they wanna grow their hair let them be, that’s who they are,” said Abunijmeh. “If they want to express themselves that way, let it be.”
 
Superintendent Fran Marek said the review of the code happens in the spring. The code was already approved for this year and changing it is unlikely.

Abunijmeh says she will continue to fight for her son to keep his hair. Dwabi went to the first day of school in a braid. It’s a workaround that may not soon work if the school district does not budge.