2021.05.12 Simmons Hair bill passes senateSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mike Simmons’ (D-Chicago) legislation to end the practice of discriminating against students’ hairstyles in schools passed the Illinois Senate Wednesday afternoon.

“We took a major step forward today in passing this bill out of the Senate and sent a message to our young people that we see them and respect them for who they are. Black youth in particular have endured decades of systemic discrimination targeting their hairstyles in schools, and it’s time to turn the page on that history. I thank my colleagues for supporting the bill,” Simmons said. 

Senate Bill 817 applies to all public, private and charter schools in the State. The bill prohibits schools from issuing policies or including any language in handbooks about hairstyles traditionally associated with race and ethnicity including braids, dreadlocks, and protective hairstyles. This makes our schools safe spaces for black youth to show up and learn authentically and be who they are. 

Simmons, who wears his hair in natural free form locs, said he’s been on the receiving end of school rules policing his personal appearance. 

“I understand what this feels like personally,” Simmons said. “I urge the House to approve this legislation and join the Senate in ensuring that the next generation doesn’t have to go through this.

Category: Press Releases

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