HOUSTON (KIAH) — Seven Magnolia ISD students are suing the district over its dress code policy dealing with boys with long hair, calling it “explicit gender discrimination.”

The students and families filed a lawsuit with the help of the ACLU of Texas, citing that Magnolia ISD has severely punished its students due to the policy, which included some students to be suspended for a month because they have long hair.

The families want their children to return to school with their long hair in place.

“At a time when students have already been through so much due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is outrageous that Magnolia ISD administrators are pushing students out of school because of their gender and hair,” said Brian Klosterboer, ACLU of Texas staff attorney.

“We have warned the district repeatedly that its gender-based hair policy violates the Constitution, but the district continues to derail students` lives and deny their right to a public education free from discrimination. Magnolia ISD is failing to live up to its motto `to be the best district in the state of Texas,` and the district needs to stop hurting its students.”

Magnolia ISD’s policy for hair on male students must be “no longer than the bottom of a dress shirt collar, bottom of the ear, and out of the eyes.”

Azucena Laredo, whose 9-year-old son has been suspended for over a month from Magnolia ISD, said in a statement that her son has never gotten a haircut and his dad and uncle also have long hair.

“Magnolia ISD has harshly punished my son and driven him out of school entirely because he is a boy with long hair. This is unconscionable and the district needs to stop harming our children,” Laredo said.

In a statement provided to ABC13, Magnolia ISD said they are considering parent grievances on this subject manner and respect the various viewpoints. However, the district also states, “this system of differentiated dress and grooming standards have been affirmed by courts and does not inhibit equal access to educational opportunities under Title IX.”

But the parents in the lawsuit feel the district is preventing their children from getting a good education and is putting harm on them and their future.

“The district has lost sight of what`s most important and keeps inflicting harm on our kids,” said Danielle Miller, mother of 11-year-old Tristan Miller, who identifies as non-binary. “No student should be forced to conform to gender stereotypes or have their education upended because of that student’s gender.

“Parents, students, and members of our community have filed grievances and spoken at Magnolia ISD school board meetings to tell the district to stop punishing our kids and change the policy. We will not be ignored nor go away quietly while our children are disciplined simply because of their gender.”