COLUMBUS—State Reps. Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland) and Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) today introduced legislation, known as the “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act,” which would ban discriminatory policies in Ohio schools that penalize students, especially students of color, for wearing natural hairstyles that embrace their cultural identities.
“We want our schools to be welcoming places that embrace diversity—not discriminate against it. And yet, we continue to hear of instances of discrimination against black and brown kids who wear their hair naturally. The CROWN Act would end that,” Rep. Brent said. “This commonsense bill protects our kids and ensures they have the same opportunity to fulfill their promise as any other child in our state.”
“The CROWN Act is a good first step to help eliminate the unconscious biases that too often hold people of color back in Ohio,” said Rep. Hicks-Hudson. “We work for you—and that means taking on discrimination whenever it happens, especially in our schools. At the end of the day, the way you wear your hair should not limit your pursuit of the American Dream.”
Under the CROWN Act, Ohio schools would be prohibited from discriminating against anyone who wears a natural hairstyle or protective article that embraces their cultural identity. This would extend not only to class time, but to athletics and other school-related functions.
Under the bill, those who allege discrimination would be able to file a civil action in any court of competent jurisdiction.