A Texas teenager is speaking out after he was given an in-school suspension and told that he would not be able to walk in his graduation ceremony, all due to his dreadlocks. In an interview with CBS This Morning, DeAndre Arnold explained that his father is from Trinidad where many men in that culture sport dreadlocks.
“I really like that part of Trinidadian culture; I really embrace that,” said the teen. However, as Arnold explained, he was punished for his hairstyle after the school district changed their dress code policy.
Texas High School Senior Told He Wouldn’t Be Allowed to Walk at Graduation If He Didn’t Cut His Dreadlocks
The policy change came after Christmas break, CBS This Morning reports. But when the Barbers Hill High School senior refused to cut his hair, he received an in-school suspension.
“They say that even (when) my hair is up if it were to be down it would be not in compliance with the dress code. However, I don’t take it down in the school,” Arnold explained in another interview with KPRC. The policy used to allow him to where his hair up.
His mother Sandy Arnold is blaming it all on the lack of diversity in the school district. “There is no people of color on the school board. I get it that they don’t understand his hair.” She went on to say that she’s standing by her son, adding that she will not give in and cut his hair.
She told KPRC, “Are you going to cut his hair? Absolutely not, this is a part of who he is. So absolutely not going to cut his hair.” The mom added that she has reached out to the school board in an attempt to work with them but says she never received a response.
Shortly after Arnold’s story made national news, the Barbers Hill School District released a pubic statement saying, “We do have a community-supported hair length policy & have had for decades. Barbers Hill is a state leader with high expectations in all areas!”
The teen’s story also caught the attention of Ellen DeGeneres who praised him for standing up for what is right and invited him to be a guest on her show.
The talk show host made a plea to the school board on his behalf and, along with singer Alicia Keys, presented Arnold with a check for $20,000 to support his dream of becoming a veterinarian.
On January 31, Sandy told KPRC that they had made the decision to withdraw their son from Barbers Hill high school.
Katie Nave is a freelance writer, producer, and mama living in Brooklyn, New York. Driven by her passion for storytelling, she is always seeking opportunities to elevate people who are working to better the world around them.
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