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The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT PROHIBITING DISCRIMINATION BASED ON NATURAL AND PROTECTIVE HAIRSTYLES

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1.  Section 7 of chapter 4 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2020 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following 2 clauses:-

Sixty-second, “Race”, as applied to a prohibition on discrimination based on race, shall include traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture, hair type, hair length and protective hairstyles.

Sixty-third, “Protective hairstyle”, shall include, but not be limited to, braids, locks, twists, Bantu knots, hair coverings and other formations.

SECTION 2.  Chapter 71 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 1C the following section:-

Section 1D.  A school district, school committee, public school, nonsectarian school, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association or any equivalent school organization or an entity or board that provides athletic officials, including, but not limited to, referees and umpires, for school sports or athletic events, shall not adopt or implement a policy or code, including, but not limited to, any policy or code pertaining to a student’s participation in sports or athletic events, that impairs or prohibits a hairstyle that is historically associated with race. The department of elementary and secondary education shall provide written guidance for the administration of this section.

SECTION 3.  The Massachusetts commission against discrimination shall adopt, promulgate, amend and rescind rules and regulations or formulate policies and make recommendations as necessary to effectuate the purposes of clauses sixty-second and sixty-third of section 7 of chapter 4 of the General Laws.

Approved, July 26, 2022.