New Illinois law bans ‘hairstyle discrimination’ in schools

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois schools will be prohibited from issuing rules regarding hairstyles historically associated with race and ethnicity, such as braids and twists, under a new law signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

The measure approved by the Legislature this spring and signed by Pritzker on Friday aims to end discrimination based on students’ hairstyles.

It is known as the Jett Hawkins Law after a Black student who at age 4 was told to take out his braids because the hairstyle violated the dress code at his Chicago school.

His mother, Ida Nelson, began an awareness campaign after the incident, saying stigmatizing children’s hair can negatively affect their educational development.