How the CROWN Act may impact students at Park

March 5, 2023

Polk said he believes the CROWN Act won’t have a major impact on students, because he hopes Park has done enough to make students feel safe wearing their natural hair already.

“I’d hope that the issue of racial discrimination that the CROWN Act is targeting isn’t impacting students here,” Polk said. “If it is, we have to fix that. The CROWN Act should, and will, impact students on a state level, but I hope it doesn’t have to impact students at Park.”

According to social studies teacher Emma Engebretson, the CROWN Act may have an impact on students at Park in the future, as students may feel more protected to speak up against discrimination they see or experience.

“The CROWN Act will for sure impact student experience,” Engebretson said. “We’ve got a law now that says that you can’t discriminate based on appearance in schools. That will create a more welcoming environment where students can express themself freely and ensure that there are consequences when discrimination occurs.”

According to Polk, the most significant of the issues the CROWN Act will cover, surrounds what is considered acceptable in a work environment. 

“Hopefully, the CROWN Act gets away from the whole concept of ‘classy’-versus-‘dirty’-versus-‘professional’ hair,” Polk said. “To me, that’s where the biggest issue lies — with people dictating what is and isn’t professional.” 

Miles Johnson said that before the CROWN Act, he had worried about potential discrimination in the workplace, but he feels more protected after the bill was passed.

“When I started working in a workplace before the bill, there was a higher possibility that they would say, ‘Change your hair, it’s not professional,’” Johnson said. “Now that you legally can’t do that, I feel more safe in having my natural hair out in public.”

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