Illinois law bans 'hairstyle discrimination' in schools

Illinois law bans 'hairstyle discrimination' in schools
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Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a measure on Friday that seeks to end discrimination based on students' hairstyles in schools.

The legislation was voted on in May and signed into law last week, stating that schools "will not prohibit hairstyles historically associated with race, ethnicity, or hair texture, including, but not limited to, protective hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists."

The new Jett Hawkins Law is named after Gus "Jett" Hawkins, a black student who was told at age 4 to remove his braids because his hairstyle violated the dress code at his Chicago school.

The Democratic governor signed the law at Uplift Community High School on Friday, alongside Hawkins, who was handed a pin following Pritzker's signature.

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“For us, this is bigger than just hair. Our hair is an extension of who we are as a race and is deeply connected to our cultural identity,” Ida Nelson, the boy's mother, told NBC's Today. “This is one huge step toward improving the mental health outcomes for our children, as it ensures that they will be in healthier learning environments.”

Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton thanked Democratic Sen. Mike Simmons and Rep. Greg Harris, two lawmakers who sponsored the measure in February.

"This is really a game-changer for how children will see and embrace themselves. And as we all know, sometimes that is half the battle," Stratton tweeted on Aug. 13.

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The bill passed the state Senate 41-12 in May and passed in the House 89-22 and will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

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Tags: News, Illinois, Chicago, Education

Original Author: Kaelan Deese

Original Location: Illinois law bans 'hairstyle discrimination' in schools

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