DeAndre Arnold, a black teenager in Texas says he had been asked by his high school to cut his dreadlocks in order to be able to walk at graduation.
According to NBC, his current hairstyle does not meet the school’s dress code and he is currently suspended. Arnold is a senior at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, roughly 30 miles east of Houston. He shared with NBC affiliate KPRC of Houston that he faced in-school suspension after refusing to cut his hair.
Arnold notes that he has been wearing dreadlocks for years similar to the men in his family, his father is from Trinidad. He also adds that he’s always complied to the school’s dress code by tying his hair up. “I really like that part of Trinidadian culture. So, I mean I really embrace that,” DeAndre said.
Sandy Arnold, his mother noted that after Christmas break, three months before graduation, the Barber Hills School District changed its dress code, specifically noting hair. The rules now read, “hair must be clean and well groomed.” On male students, hair can’t extend below the eyebrows, the ear lobes or the top of a T-shirt collar this includes when the hair is down.
“They say that even though my hair is up and I follow all of the regulations, that if it was down, it would be out of dress code,” DeAndre said. “Not that I’m out of dress code, but if I was to take it down, I would be out of dress code, which doesn’t make any sense. I don’t take it down at school.”
His mother further explains that due to the rule change, DeAndre hasn’t been allowed to attend school and that he won’t be able to attend graduation unless he abides by the dress code by cutting his hair. She added that she won’t be making him cut his dreadlocks. “This is his belief. This is a part of who he is. This is his culture. This is what we believe.”
In a video shared by KHOU 11, DeAndre shared:
“My hair has nothing to with my excellence as we say at Barbers Hill [High School], how smart I am, what job I’m going to get. My hair doesn’t determine that, I determine that from my character.”
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