Mass. House Passes Hairstyle Discrimination Bill, Moves To Senate

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — On Thursday, a unanimous vote in the Massachusetts House passed a bill that would make discrimination based on a person's hairstyle illegal.

The often called "Crown Act," or an Act Prohibiting Discrimination Based On Natural and Protective Hairstyles (H.4554), was inspired by a Malden family and a couple of students that faced discipline in the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School for their natural hairstyles back in 2017. According to the State House News Service, the daughters of Aaron and Colleen Cook went to school with box braids, which were against the institution's dress code at the time, and received daily detentions for their hairstyles.

The passed bill was a new draft of a proposal last year, and was filed in the House by Representatives Steven Ultrino and Chynah Tyler.

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The Crown Act said that no school district, school committee, public school or nonsectarian school can implement a policy or dress code that prohibits a "natural or protective hairstyle." The bill said that natural hairstyles may include, and are not limited to, braids, locks, twists, Bantu knots and other formations.

Officials said that the Crown Act will move on to the Senate for consideration.

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