Hayden v. Greensburg Cmty Sch. Corp., No. 13-1757 (7th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
A.H.’s Greensburg, Indiana school has a policy: Hair Styles which create problems of health and sanitation, obstruct vision, or call undue attention to the athlete are not acceptable….. Each varsity head coach will be responsible for determining acceptable length of hair for a particular sport. The head varsity basketball coach has established an unwritten hair-length policy, providing that each player’s hair must be cut above the ears, eyebrows, and collar, to promote “team unity” and project a “clean cut” image. The boys’ baseball teams have a similar policy; the track and football teams do not. No girls’ team is subject to a hair-length policy. When A.H. refused to comply, he was removed from the team. The district court denied a preliminary injunction and rejected substantive due process claim, acknowledging that one’s choice of hairstyle is an element of liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment, but noting that public schools have authority to enact and enforce dress and grooming policies and may condition participation in interscholastic sports upon a greater degree of regulation than imposed on students generally. The Seventh Circuit reversed in part, reasoning that the policy treats boys and girls differently; there was no evidence of comparable grooming standards applied to girls playing basketball. The evidence supported the sex discrimination claims.