AUSTIN – A public heairng was held Thursday in Austin for House Bill 392, which is also known as the CROWN Act.
Members of the State Affairs Committee heard testimony from several people, including Deandre Arnold -- a former high school senior from Mont Belvieu who was suspended over the length of his dreadlocks. The dress code at Barbers Hill High School forced Arnold to choose between his Trinidadian culture and his diploma. Deandre made national news with the story going viral.
The committee voted to leave the bill pending in committee.
State Rep. Ron Reynolds, from Missouri City, said that right now, Texas has no law protecting against hair discrimination based on style or texture. There’s no protection in an office setting or in the classroom, but Reynolds said that has to change.
Research by the Crown Coalition, which advocates for ending hair discrimination, found that Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from work because of their hair. The study also found that 80% of women would change their hair from its natural state to adapt in predominantly white workplaces.
Eight states have passed the CROWN Act.
Reynolds said he is working to get bi-partisan support for the bill so it can head Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk.