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. 

May 2021 case announcement 

Nov. 2021 update: Judge rules key claims can move forward 

Harvard Law Clinic joins Nebraska religious freedom case

VICTORY! Lakota Family and Cody-Kilgore Unified School District Settle Religious Freedom Case with Consent Decree


Rose Godinez (ACLU of Nebraska)

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

Harvard Law Clinic

Date filed

May 17, 2021


United States District Court for the State of Nebraska