Long hair lawsuit dismissed; judge rules 'without prejudice'

Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Bobby Conway

Late last year, Robert and Linda Conway, the parents of Eureka Springs Middle School student Bobby Conway, sued the school district for $110,000.

They said the district had violated their son's rights under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the Civil Rights Act of 1983, the Arkansas Constitution and the Arkansas Bill of Rights.

The school was accused of violating the law in denying Conway the right to play basketball because he had long hair.

The courts had previously held that discrimination in interscholastic athletics constituted "discrimination in education," because no person, on the basis of sex, can legally be excluded from participation in any educational program.

Girls' athletics have no hair length requirement.

On Aug. 4, Judge John Lineberger dismissed the case "without prejudice" in civil court, following an agreement by the school district that hair length "would not be a criterion for player eligibility."

To dismiss "without prejudice" means the matter could be taken up again if the district were to again discriminate based on hair length.

The Conways have appealed the decision.

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  • Thought this was a "principle" suit. Guess they wanted money too.

    The Judge's ruling seems fair to me.

    -- Posted by Kaye Miller on Wed, Aug 27, 2008, at 8:10 PM
  • Having played basketball with girls who have long hair, I can say that once his hair is hung up, pulled out of his head, and jerked back by oposing team mates - he'll cut it.

    -- Posted by Fonda on Fri, Aug 29, 2008, at 6:55 AM
  • we as parents of our kids that go to public school have to take a stand for our kids all this young boy wanted to do was play basketball and support our school and he was not given that right to do so who cares how long his hair is to the parents and the young man my family support you I am thankfull to you for taking a stand for your son and letting the school know they cant bully our kids around anymore.

    -- Posted by arkansasmommy on Sun, Aug 31, 2008, at 9:45 AM
  • So why did it take a law suit for common sense to prevail? The ruling seems fair but the Conways legal bill should have been reimbursed by the school board.

    -- Posted by androsmon on Mon, Sep 1, 2008, at 8:12 PM
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