Good News! Ohio House Passes CROWN Act to End Hair Discrimination In Public Schools

by Gee NY

The Ohio House of Representatives made a significant move in combating hair discrimination by passing the CROWN Act, a new law that ensures public schools cannot penalize students for wearing natural hairstyles.

The legislation, passed during the week of June 12, marks a critical step toward cultural acceptance and equality within the state.

The CROWN Act, which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, was spearheaded by State Representative Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland) and Representative Jamie Callender (R-Concord).

House Bill 178 aims to protect students from preschool through K-12 from any form of punishment related to their natural hair, including styles such as braids, locks, and puffs.

“We want to make sure that if you are having a protective style—no matter if it’s braided, if it’s locked, or if it’s puffs—that you will be able to wear that without discrimination within the state of Ohio,” stated Representative Brent.

Despite its passage, the bill faced opposition from some lawmakers, primarily older white men, who doubted the existence of hair discrimination.

“We’ve been run mostly by old white dudes, old white and bald,” Brent remarked, highlighting the disconnect between those making the laws and those affected by discriminatory practices.

The CROWN Act represents a significant victory, particularly for Black women who have long faced bias and discrimination based on their hair texture and styles.

Ladosha Wright, a Cleveland Heights cosmetologist, emphasized the importance of this legislation in an interview with News 5 Cleveland.

“My whole career has been about the humanity of hair,” Wright said, advocating for inclusivity and recognition of textured hair in America.

Wright pointed out that the negative treatment of textured hair in America stems from a lack of historical understanding pre-dating slavery.

She believes the CROWN Act is necessary to correct this historical wrong and promote the acceptance of all hair types.

The passage of the CROWN Act in Ohio aligns with a growing national movement to end hair discrimination and uphold the rights of individuals to embrace their natural cultural identities without fear of repercussion.

This legislation protects students and fosters an environment of respect and inclusivity within Ohio’s public schools. It now proceeds to the Senate.

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