In the spring of 2020, Alice Johnson and Norma LeRoy sent their two children to school at Cody Kilgore Elementary School. When the children returned home, Alice and Norma noticed hair missing from both children. A school employee had cut their hair during lice checks – violating their traditional and religious Lakota beliefs.
After the family voiced concerns, their hair was cut again.
The school’s written head lice policy includes no mention of cutting hair. The case argues this unwritten practice was instead applied only to Native American students and violates the family’s First Amendment right to freely exercise their religion and Fourteenth Amendment of both mothers to direct the religious upbringing of their children.
Their children’s First Amendment right to receive an education free of cultural and religious discrimination was violated, and we are working to hold Cody Kilgore Unified School District and individuals involved accountable.
Nov. 2021 update: Judge rules key claims can move forward