CROWN, Ohio, public schools

Ohio House Passes CROWN Act To Prohibit Hair Discrimination In Public Schools

Next up: the bill heads to the state senate for discussion.

The Ohio House of Representatives passed the CROWN Act, a piece of legislation that prohibits public schools from penalizing students for wearing natural hairstyles, on the week of June 12.

The CROWN Act, which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, was introduced by State Representative Juanita Brent, a Democrat from Cleveland, and Rep. Jamie Callender (R-Concord) as House Bill 178. 

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

The bill now moves to the state senate for discussion.

The CROWN Act would prevent Ohio public preschools and high schools from enacting any sort of penalty on students, particularly students of color, for embracing their cultural identities by showing off their natural hair.

Brent said that although the act was passed, some representatives voted against it.

“We’ve been run mostly by old white dudes, old white and bald,” Brent said. “They’re the ones who are making decisions, but they’re also not the ones that have to receive this type of level of discrimination.”

Brent called the misinformation an indication of larger race issues. All of the no votes came from white men.

The bill is a big move for Black women especially. In an interview with News 5 Cleveland, Ladosha Wright, a Cleveland Heights cosmetologist, spoke about how the CROWN Act is the “human thing and this is the right thing to do.

“We know for certain that textured hair in America has not been treated very well,” she said. “So a lot of that, well, the bulk of that, has stemmed from not having a history about our hair before slavery.”

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