Bill Banning Hair Discrimination

by Jan Frazier

Chicago  (Washington Insider Magazin )    On Thursday in the Illinois House, a bill passed that would “prohibit schools from creating rules to limit hairstyles historically tied to a race.”

The bill — Senate Bill 817 — was led by State Senator Mike Simmons of Chicago, and it passed “with bipartisan support in an 89-22 vote.” This bill will prohibit all schools from banning hairstyles that are traditional or typical of a race’s culture.

State Representative Greg Harris (D-Chicago) said, “This is a chance for us to correct some historical wrongs that have been done for years and years and years.”

Recently when Simmons joined the General Assembly, he decided to try to push a bill that would show nondiscrimination for hairstyles of certain races.

The Illinois State Board of Education “would create the guidance for schools to follow, which could vary for institutions like military schools that require short hair.” Rules would — for inside the school — vary for rules of extracurricular activities and after-school sports.

State Representative La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago), said, “I hope that everyone understands that this isn’t a hair bill; it’s about treating people right, respecting people, allowing people to be who they want to be.”

Harris clarified that the schools could still have dress codes; however, State Representative, Tom Morrison (R-Palatine), didn’t agree. He wanted to have the members vote no. “This does affect private schools, and I think this is an issue that is best left up to that individual school administration and the parents that choose to send their children there.”

The bill will need to return to the Senate for a final “vote to address an amendment made in the House changing the bill’s title before going to the Governor’s desk.”


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