PEARLAND, Texas (FOX 26) - A federal civil rights lawsuit was filed Sunday against Pearland ISD, a school discipline clerk, head principal at Berry Miller Junior High Tony Barcelona, and teacher Jeanette Peterson after Peterson used a Sharpie to draw on a student’s head at the end of last school year.
Peterson allegedly told Juelz Trice, a seventh-grade student, that the design in his haircut violated Pearland ISD’s dress code policy. Juelz was not given a choice to avoid the punishment. It was either have his hair colored in, or go to In School Suspension.
"You give a 13-year-old the option of basically being humiliated, embarrassed, or going to ISS, that is a hard choice to make without calling your parents, or letting them know what's going on," his mother, Angela Washington said.
School officials did not call Juelz’ parents or hold any hearing as required by law.
Since the incident, Pearland ISD changed their dress code hairstyle policy.
Despite public outcry, the assistant principal was promoted as head principal where Juelz is now in the eighth grade.
The district also kept the discipline clerk and Peterson in their current positions, after Peterson was placed on administrative leave following the incident.
After several attempts by the Juelz’ parents and their lawyer to resolve the issues with no response, the plaintiffs initiated the instant litigation for training and compensation.
"They could have just called us," said Dante Trice, Juelz' father. "If you called and said he's out of dress code, we'd come get him, it's that simple."
The way the situation was handled has taken a toll on Juelz and his family.
"Everyone's been talking about it, and making memes," Juelz told FOX 26 in April 2019. "A student at my school made a post about me being a thug and unintelligent."
Juelz's parents, his lawyer and the public are holding a press conference to discuss why they have filed this lawsuit Monday afternoon.