Indian Legal Clinic Files Amicus Brief in Fifth Circuit Religious Freedom Case
The ASU Indian Legal Clinic and Quarles & Brady filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas in A.A. v. Needville School District. Indian Legal Clinic Student-Attorney Daniel Lewis, Quarles & Brady attorney Katea Ravega, and Professor Patty Ferguson-Bohnee prepared the brief.
The school district appealed a permanent injunction issued by the Southern District of Texas prohibiting the district from enforcing a regulation that would prevent a Native American kindergartner from wearing his hair in braids at school in violation of his constitutional rights of freedom of expression and religion. The school district’s policy prevents boys from wearing their hair long, and specifically provides that a boy’s hair “shall not cover any part of the ear or touch the top of the standard collar in the back.” Because of the policy, the student was placed in in-school suspension. The student believes “that his long hair is not only an expression of his ancestry and heritage, but also a sacred symbol of his life and experience in this world.”
The amicus brief addressed the Lipan Apache tradition of wearing hair long for both expression of identity and religious purposes and requested the Fifth Circuit to affirm the lower court’s decision.