Black teen told to cut dreadlocks or face graduation ban from Texas school
A black teenager has said he has been suspended from high school and told he can’t attend his graduation ceremony unless he cuts his dreadlocks.
DeAndre Arnold, a senior at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, near Houston, Texas, said he has worn dreadlocks for years and always followed the school’s dress code by tying them up.
The 18-year-old told NBC affiliate KPRC his father is from Trinidad and many men in his family wear their hair in this style.
He said his hair had been in compliance with school district rules until recently, when he faced in-school suspension after he refused to cut it.
“I really like that part of Trinidadian culture,” he told the station. “So, I mean I really embrace that.”
His mother, Sandy Arnold, said after the Christmas holiday, three months before graduation, the Barbers Hill Independent School District changed its dress code on hair.
Now the rules stipulate that for male students “hair must be clean and well groomed” and not extend below the eyebrows, the ear lobes or the top of a T-shirt collar – including when let 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 Arnold told KPRC.
“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.”
Sandy Arnold said that, as a result of the rule change, her son is not allowed in school and can’t attend graduation until he complies with the dress code. When asked if she would cut his hair, she responded, “Absolutely not.”
“This is his belief,” she said. “This is a part of who he is. This is his culture. This is what we believe.”
In a statement on Twitter, the Barbers Hill Independent School District said that it does allow dreadlocks.
It added: “However we DO have a community supported hair length policy & have had for decades.
“BH is a state leader with high expectations in ALL areas!”
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