Bill banning ‘hairstyle discrimination’ in schools passes House

Written by Tim Kirsininkas
Published on 27th May 2021

House Majority Leader Greg Harris (front), D-Chicago and Sen. Mike Simmons, D-Chicago, listen to debate on Senate Bill 817 on Thursday. The bill would prohibit schools from enacting dress code policies which discriminate against hairstyles “historically associated with race, ethnicity or texture” (Credit:

Senate Bill 817, which prevents schools from enforcing dress codes that prohibit hairstyles historically associated with race, ethnicity or texture such as twists, braids and locks, was passed in the Illinois House.  Republican Greg Harris stated that this bill “aims to address historical wrongs.” The bill is commonly referred to as “Jett Hawkins Law,”, where Hawkins, a Black student, was sent home from school after the school authorities stated that his natural hair violated school policy. Harris, who served as the bill’s lead sponsor, cited cases of Black students who were forced to change their natural hairstyles due to school policies or were not allowed to take part in school activities unless they changed their natural hairstyles.

“A person wearing their hair is not going to affect anybody learning what two plus two is – This allows people to be free, allows people to live their life in a way they want to, private or not.” – Republican Cyril Nichols

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