A Texas teen is being forced to cut his dreadlocks to be able to walk in his high school graduation ceremony.
DeAndre Arnold, a senior at Barbers Hill High School, has currently been suspended because his dreadlocks don’t meet the school district’s dress code. Arnold told KPRC that his hair was in compliance with the school rules until recently.
His mother says that after Christmas break, the school district changed their dress code. The new rules say “hair must be clean and well groomed” and a male student’s hair cannot extend below the eyebrows, ear lobes and the top of their T-shirt collar, even when it’s let down.
Arnold, whose family is from Trinidad, says that he’s worn dreads for years. He also says that he would tie his hair up at school to follow the school’s dress code.
“I really like that part of Trinidadian culture,” he said. “So, I mean I really embrace that.”
“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,” 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.”
As a result of the rule change, Arnold has not been allowed back in school and can’t attend graduation until he follows the dress code. His mother says that her son will “absolutely not” cut his dreads.
“This is his belief,” she said. “This is a part of who he is. This is his culture. This is what we believe.”
Houston Texans wide receiver Deandre Hopkins tweeted his support for Arnold telling him to “never cut” hair.
As of now, the school district is standing firm with their dress code. The district tweeted that they do allow dreadlocks but say they have had a hair length policy for decades. Superintendent Greg Poole says the district “will NOT be bullied or intimidated by outside influences.”