Hair Discrimination Banned in Massachusetts

The CROWN Act Law prohibits discrimination against students, employees, and others based on their protective or natural hairstyles.

Massachusetts has joined the growing list of states that have banned discrimination based on a person's hairstyle.

Last week, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker signed the CROWN Act, which stands for "Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair."

In recent years, variations of this legislation have emerged across the country. The new Massachusetts law—unanimously approved by both chambers of the Legislature—explicitly prohibits discrimination "based on hair texture, hair type, and hairstyles." The law protects "natural and protective hairstyles such as braids, locks, twists, Bantu knots, and other formations."

RELATED: House Passes CROWN Act to Ban Race-Based Discrimination Against Hairstyles

Twins Deanna and Mya Cook were at the forefront of pushing for the legislation, and they had the opportunity to stand next to Baker at the signing ceremony.

In 2017, the sisters were given hours of detention, prohibited from attending prom, and threatened with suspension for wearing braids to Mystic Valley Regional Charter School. Natural and protective hairstyles like braids are common for Black students and were explicitly against the school's dress code policy at the time.

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