AUSTIN (KXAN) — A bill intended to end the discrimination of hairstyles associated with race was signed into law Sunday by Gov. Greg Abbott.
House Bill 567, better known as the CROWN Act, cleared its final hurdle on May 12 after it was passed by the Texas Senate 29-1. It was sent to Abbott’s desk on May 16 and he made it law with his signature on Sunday. It goes into effect on Sept. 1. It passed the Texas House 143-5 on April 12.
The CROWN Act is an acronym for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, and it prohibits school districts, colleges or universities, employers or labor unions to discriminate against any protected hairstyle as part of a dress code. In the bill, protected hairstyles are “braids, locks or twists.”
Rep. Rhetta Bowers, the author of the bill, said it will “improve the lives of countless Texans.”
CROWN Act bills have been passed in 21 states including Texas and are part of a national civil rights and anti-discrimination movement started in 2019.
A case in Mont Belvieu, Texas, brought CROWN Act laws to the forefront after DeAndre Arnold was suspended from Barbers Hill High School in 2020. The school district said the length of his dreadlocks was the issue and it violated the district’s dress code. Arnold, a Black student with Trinidadian heritage, said the hairstyle is part of his family’s heritage and culture and the men in their family grow their dreadlocks to below their waist.