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Rep. who led the CROWN Act fight in Texas explains what the bill covers

House Bill 567, the CROWN Act which outlaws hair discrimination is now law in Texas, but some students are still being punished for their hair while at school.

TEXAS, USA — For the last few years– her crown has become part of her life’s work. 

“What a confidence booster that you can walk into these places unapologetic,” said Rep. Rhetta Bowers, D - Garland.  

Year after year, Texas representative Bowers has stood before her peers laying out Crown Act legislation and its importance.

“CROWN stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural hair,” she explained.  

The bill outlaws discrimination in Texas based on hairstyle and hair texture historically associated with race. 

“You can go back all the way back to that first time in House Bill 392. We know it passed in the 88th [legislative session] under HB 567, but we can go back to the 87th legislative session when we didn’t have as much luck and we saw it sitting for days, weeks and months on in so those were some of the hard hurdles to get over.” 

NOTE: The following video was uploaded in June 2023

The Garland rep says House Bill 567 lays the foundation & protections for people of color.  

“I have to say it that way because I don’t want to just lock it in to us as African Americans,” Bowers added. “It protects our children, so its men, women and children in the classrooms, in boardrooms, in places of work, even seeking housing it’s going to provide protections there.” 

While the bill received bipartisan support becoming law Sept. 1 in Texas, it doesn’t come without what some are calling loopholes -- evident by what one family says is a recent case of hair discrimination in a Texas school district. 

Images of 17-year-old Darryl – a junior at Barbers Hill High School, just outside of Houston, pictured with his hair pinned up is a hairstyle his mom says was the reason he was placed in in-school suspension. 

Activists accuse the school of violating the CROWN Act.     

“It does not protect color change of the hair,” Bowers added. “It is strongly about protective styles. It is not about length and it’s not about color of hair.” 

The law does however say school dress codes cannot discriminate against protective hairstyles including braids and locks which are historically associated with race. 

“I think this has really been educational for all of us. It is a proud moment that with a republican led legislature that we can pass this bill in the state of Texas and I am so proud looking at you because I know it took all of us, blood, sweat and tears to not stop talking about it.” 

You can read the full bill here 

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