New Jersey bans discrimination based on hairstyle a year after a black student wrestler cut his dreadlocks to compete

New Jersey bans discrimination based on hairstyle a year after a black student wrestler cut his dreadlocks to compete
New Jersey banned discrimination based on hairstyle a year after black student wrestler cut his dreadlocks to compete. (Getty Images)

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, on Thursday, signed new legislation, making it illegal to discriminate based on hairstyles linked with race. The bill comes nearly a year after an African American teenage high school wrestler cut off his dreadlocks so he could compete, reports state.

The legislation, known as the "Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair Act" (or CROWN Act), amends the current law in the state against discrimination to incorporate "traits historically associated with race," including hair texture and hairstyles like braids, dreadlocks, and twists.

Murphy's office said that the change is "intended to remove any confusion or ambiguity over the scope" of the law. The change is "intended to remove any confusion or ambiguity over the scope" of the law, according to CNN

The governor, in a news release, stated: "Race-based discrimination will not be tolerated in the State of New Jersey. No one should be made to feel uncomfortable or be discriminated against because of their natural hair. I am proud to sign this law in order to help ensure that all New Jersey residents can go to work, school, or participate in athletic events with dignity."

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Democratic candidate Phil Murphy, who is running against Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno for the governor of New Jersey , speaks at a rally on October 19, 2017 in Newark, New Jersey. (Getty Images)

Reports state that the legislation was brought in after a New Jersey referee told a teenage varsity wrestler Andrew Johnson in 2018 that he would have to forfeit a match if his dreadlocks were uncovered. The Buena Regional High School student athlete had eventually had to ask his trainer to chop off his hair. The clip went viral shortly after the incident and drew nationwide flak. New Jersey officials, in September, had announced that the referee would be suspended for two seasons after an investigation. 

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a similar bill into law in July this year citing Johnson, and saying that the issue came up in schools and offices every day. A similar bill was also passed in New York City.  

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 New Jersey ban discrimination hairstyle a year after a black student wrestler cut his dreadlocks