Courtney Haveman had a drinking problem. From 2011 to 2013, she pleaded guilty to several misdemeanors. She joined Alcoholics Anonymous, and now six years sober and the mother of a toddler, Haveman wants to become an esthetician. (2/7)
Haveman went to beauty school. A salon offered Haveman a job with the condition that she get a license. However, because of her criminal record, the PA Board of Cosmetology said Haveman did not have the “good moral character” necessary for the exam and denied her license. (3/7)
The Pennsylvania Cosmetology Law allows the state to deny people a license if they lack “good moral character,” which the state initially bases on whether they have a criminal record, no matter the offense or when it happened. The law doesn’t define "good moral character." (4/7)
Aaron Shenck, executive director of The Pennsylvania Association of Private School Administrators, which represents cosmetology schools, said the requirement “does not make sense,” since the hearing examiners can have different opinions as to what counts for good morals. (5/7)
Black people and Latinos represent 12% and 16% of the US population, respectively, but 33% and 23% of all federal and state prisoners. In PA, the state cosmetology board uses criminal convictions to flag people who may not pass its good moral character test. (6/7)
“This is so silly,” Haveman said. “They think I’m a threat to the public from a crime I committed 8 years ago. I’m still allowed to touch clients and give a service, but it’s not what I went to school for.” (7/7)
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