Cosmetology Schools in NJ Ordered to Provide More Diverse Training
New Jersey is now requiring cosmetology schools to provide equal instruction in the styling of Black and other textured hair.
Attorney General Matthew Platkin announced an agreement with the Gloucester County Institute of Technology and the state Division of Civil Rights regarding how students are trained in their school of cosmetology.
The state began an investigation when it was alleged non-Black students were not required to take classes on how to cut and style Black and textured hair nor were there enough Black training mannequins.
The school has now agreed they will "instruct all students in the theory and practice of styling all hair types and textures, regardless of the race/ethnicity of the student."
At least 20% of the mannequins used for student training will have Black hair.
"In many parts of our State, it can be difficult for Black residents and other people of color to receive appropriate hair styling services," said Division on Civil Rights Director Sundeep Iyer in a statement, "It is therefore critical that styling Black and textured hair be part of the foundational training that all cosmetology schools provide to all students."
Since the changes were voluntarily agreed to by Gloucester County Institute of Technology, no further action is expected to be taken by the state.
Platkin said the agreement will also serve as guidance for all cosmetology schools in New Jersey.
"Today’s agreement provides an important baseline for how cosmetology schools across our State can create more inclusive programs and better serve cosmetology patrons who have historically been marginalized or denied service," said Platkin in a statement.
"New Jerseyans should be confident that cosmetology programs in our state are adequately preparing all students to be able to cut and style all hair types and textures."
Part of a larger equality issue
In announcing the agreement with the Gloucester County Institute of Technology, state officials also noted it was part of a broader Racial Justice Initiative launched by the Department of Law and Public Safety.
The department has moved several initiatives forward to address what they term "historical racial inequity."
Among those initiatives if the CROWN Act, or Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair Act.
Enacted in 2019, CROWN specifically bans race discrimination based on hair texture, type, and styles such as braids, locks, and twists.
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