Hair styles

Schools have nothing to do to ban certain hairstyles

Schools are sanctuaries of learning. This is where we teach our children to expand their minds, learn about other cultures, and grow socially and emotionally. That’s unless your hair doesn’t look “okay,” as defined by Eurocentric Standards for Beauty and Decency.

When your hair looks like mine, schools tell you that you won’t succeed, that you won’t find a job, or that you won’t be taken seriously.

As the first generation son of an Ethiopian immigrant, my hair never conformed to these standards. I wore it naturally to school and am proud to wear it naturally today on the floor of the Illinois Senate.

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Black and brown children shouldn’t grow up with a constant message from institutions that the way they present themselves is inadequate, wrong, or less professional than the way their white peers present themselves. Make no mistake, these attitudes towards our natural hair are based on racist and outdated ideas that our bodies, with their black and brown skin, are inferior to white bodies.

This is why I think schools should not be allowed to enforce dress codes that require students to change their appearance for any reason other than basic hygiene and proper attire. Hair and hairstyles should never be a concern.

I sponsor a bill, which passed the Senate on Tuesday and went back to the House, to ban this kind of discrimination so that all of our young people can feel good about themselves and be proud of who they are. which means they grow up to be genuine, creative and productive people.

It is a systemic solution to the systemic problem of racism. It is change that relies on political incentives to right these wrongs instead of placing the burden of change on the same people who endure this discrimination.

Children and parents should not have to file complaints so that we can fix the systemic problems that we know exist when we can make laws to reduce the problem in the first place.

Let’s teach diversity to the next generation by allowing them to experience that diversity in our classrooms, not fight for it in the very place that should nurture and protect them.

Illinois Senator Mike Simmons, D-Chicago

Distribute education now

It’s good that Chicago schools are distribution centers for children to receive COVID-190 vaccines. Now, if only schools were distribution centers for education, we would be ready. Children should be in school five days a week. No excuses.

But remember, it’s all about the kids. Rinse and repeat.

William Choslovsky, Local CPS School Council Member, Lincoln Park