The mother of a Black teen from Texas is demanding answers after her son was discriminated against for his hair, which is illegal in the state due to the Crown Act.
According to KHOU, Barbers Hill High School suspended 17-year-old Darryl for weeks because his locs, when unpinned, dropped below his eyebrows. Darryl was placed in in-school suspension, or ISS, for weeks, which activists say violates the state’s CROWN ACT. They also said Darryl has style shouldn’t matter and that punishing a Black teen’s “black hair” breeds white supremacy.
“As long as hair is not below the lobes, below the eyelids, hiding his eyes, on the nape of the neck or at the collar, he’s fine. And it doesn’t matter if he twists his locks up,” attorney Allie Booker told KHOU.
Texas’ Crown Act or House Bill 567 was first introduced in 2019, but didn’t pick up momentum until January 2020 after Barbers Hill High School student DeAndre Arnold was suspended for having locs that district officials deemed too long.
According to Arnold’s family, the teen wasn’t allowed to return to school or attend his graduation unless he cut his hair.
That summer a judge ruled that the Texas school district’s hair policy discriminated against Arnold and another student who was also suspended.
House Bill 567 went into effect on Sept 1, 2021. Since then, over 20 states have enacted some form of the CROWN ACT, which bans discrimination in schools and the workplace based on Black hair texture and style.
On March 17, Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs joined the fight to protect Black Arizonians against hair discrimination by signing an executive order banning hair discrimination.
CROWN, which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, protects individuals from discrimination over natural and protective hairstyles in the workplace, schools and other institutions. The legislation also ensures that people with unique hairstyles like locs, Bantu Knots or afros, aren’t deprived of educational and employment opportunities. New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Waston Coleman is fighting for the Senate to pass the historic legislation across the United States.
The fight for the CROWN ACT continues, but some states are already leading the way to change.
On March. 18, the House passed the historic CROWN ACT to the Senate, a groundbreaking piece of legislation that would ban hair discrimination in all 50 states. The measure, which is also referred to as H.R. 2116, was passed with a sweeping 235 to 189 vote.
It’s currently in the Senate for further consideration. As of now, the bill is only being implemented on a state level.
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