🔷 NJ teen briefly kept out of basketball game

🔷 Hairstyle is protected under discrimination law

🔷 NJSIAA refers complaint to state officials

Officials with one New Jersey school district have filed a bias complaint after a female high school basketball player was briefly banned from playing in a game due to her hairstyle.

The South Orange-Maplewood district filed its complaint with the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association after an athlete from Columbia High School was disqualified for the first quarter of a basketball game last week, for having beads in her hair.

On Monday, a spokesperson said to NJ 101.5 that “NJSIAA was made aware of the allegations this morning and is conducting a review,” declining further comment.

By Tuesday, the NJSIAA had passed along the complaint to the state Division of Civil Rights within the Office of the Attorney General, as reported by NJ.com, which cited South Orange-Maplewood school officials.

Essex County

Player's temporary ban from game covered by CROWN Act

In the Jan. 4 incident, the referee did allow the teen player into the game the next quarter after speaking with South Orange & Maplewood School District athletic director, Richard Porfido.

Porfido cited 2022 rule changes by the National Federal of State High School Associations (NFHS, which now include the permitting of hair adornments in all sports.

That followed several years after the 2019 passage of New Jersey’s Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair Act — or CROWN Act.

It protects against racial discrimination that involves hair texture, hair type and protective hairstyles.

A Buena Regional HS wrestler has his dreads cut. (Mike Frankel via twitter)
A Buena Regional HS wrestler has his dreads cut. (Mike Frankel via twitter)

Buena wrestler video sparks viral outcry

The CROWN Act was introduced after a Buena Regional High School wrestler in 2018 was forced by a referee to cut off his dreadlocks in order to compete in a match.

Video of the wrestler’s pressured haircut went viral, prompting cries of racism.


He later said the incident was "manipulated and misconstrued" and tried to sue for defamation.

Read More: Ref in case of NJ wrestler who cut dreads loses appeal

Last winter, Maloney lost his appeal in the matter.

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