Legislators join organization to combat hair discrimination after former Barbers Hill HS teen pressured to cut dreads

HOUSTON – Members of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus and the CROWN Coalition, a national alliance of organizations committed to outlawing hair discrimination, held a press conference in support of the CROWN Act on Thursday.

The CROWN Act, which stands for “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” is a law that prohibits discrimination based on hair texture and styles that are commonly associated with race. The act addresses unfair grooming policies that have an impact on black children, women, and men.

First introduced in California and first passed in New York, the act expands the definition of race to ensure protection in workplaces and in K‐12 public and charter schools.

“Sadly Deandre’s story is just one of many. Yet it is reasonable enough to created a world open for natural hair. So I’m proud to be here with my colleagues and many others that support what we hope to be proposed in the next legislative session,” Rhetta Andrews Bowers, Texas State Representative, said.

Former Barbers Hill High School student Deandre Arnold was suspended and told he couldn’t walk in his high school graduation ceremony unless he cut his dreadlocks to meet the school district’s new dress code. After refusing to compromise, his mother ended up withdrawing him from the school.

Arnold told KPRC 2 that his hair had been in compliance with school rules until recently. His story is now contributing to a national discussion about hair and discrimination. The Texas Legislative Black Caucus members say they support Arnold and the other students across Texas, and will discuss plans to introduce and pass the CROWN Act during the next legislative session.

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