In December of 2018, a referee at a high school wrestling match required a teenage wrestler to either cut his dreadlocks or forfeit his match. Almost a year later, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced that the referee is now suspended for two years. Additionally, the Attorney General also announced that high school athletics around the state will now have in-person bias training for officials and staff.
Protections for Students and Athletes
The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (NJDCR) and the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association came to this agreement for the suspension of the referee and additional training for schools. Further, the NJDCR issued a memorandum regarding “Guidance on Race Discrimination Based on Hairstyle.” The memo includes information about NJ’s anti-discrimination laws. Consequently, the memo warns that treating athletes or students differently based on their hairstyles may violate these statewide laws.
This memo also requires that all sports officials and staff must receive in-person training. The training includes an emphasis on NFHS Rule 4.2.1, which states that if an athlete must wear a hair cover, this decision must be solely based on the length of the athlete’s hair and not the hairstyle itself.
New Jersey Protects Students and Athletes
The hope is that further training for these officials will prevent discriminatory conduct and behaviors. Student athletes should feel safe and comfortable when they are enjoying their sports. The new statewide directive from Attorney General Grewal shows the state’s care and protective efforts for high school student athletes. Hopefully the new trainings for school officials will create a better and safer environment for New Jersey student athletes.
Red Bank Lawyers at McOmber & McOmber
If you or someone you know has been a victim of discrimination, the experienced and competent Red Bank lawyers at McOmber & McOmber can help you claim justice. Call us at 856-985-9800 or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are conveniently located in Marlton and Red Bank, New Jersey allowing us to serve clients throughout the state.