A Memphis Man Can’t Become a Barber Because…He Never Finished High School

Twenty-five year old Memphis father Elias Zarate had to drop out of high school to take care of his two younger siblings. While he’s worked several jobs, cutting hair became his passion. But during a routine inspection of the barbershop at which he worked, Elias was fined for having an improper license.

Why? He never got his high school diploma.

Tennessee lawmakers passed a bill in 2015 requiring applicants for a barber license to also provide proof of a high school diploma or GED—in addition to the 1,500 hours of training applicants must also receive from a registered barber school.

In response to the fine, the Beacon Center, a Tennessee-based government watchdog organization, has filed a lawsuit against the Tennessee Board of Cosmetology and Barbers Examiners on Elias’ behalf. As Beacon’s Director of Litigation, Braden Boucek, pointed out in a recent interview, those running for office in Tennessee don’t need to have graduated high school in order to run and serve—so “the very people who are passing the law did not have to have high school diplomas.”

Photo: In Defense of Liberty