Texas high school bars student who won’t cut dreadlocks

National

A Texas high school student is set to graduate in a few months, but the school says there is a problem that will keep him from walking across the stage.

Barbers Hill High School student Deandre Arnold has always been a good student.

“A, B student, he has dual credit classes that he’s taking. You know, He is not a problem,” said his mother, Sandy Arnold.

But Arnold’s mother Sandy says her son’s hair has lately been a problem at the school, one that sent him to in-school suspension.

“This is a part of who he is, our beliefs.”

Deandre’s family is from Trinidad. He says a lot of men in his culture grow their dreadlocks.

“I really like that part of Trinidadian culture. I really embrace that,” said Deandre.

For years, his mother says he has had dreadlocks and always followed the school’s dress code.

“The dress code is off the shoulders above the earlobes and out of the eyes.”

Deandre wears his hair just like this, which is in compliance with the school’s dress code.

But after Christmas break and just three months before Deandre’s graduation, his mother says the district changed dress code policy.

“They say that even my hair is up and off of all of the regulation that if it were to be down that it would be out of dress code. Not that I’m out of dress code. But if I was to take it down, I would be out of dress code. That doesn’t make any sense,” said Deandre. “I don’t take it down in the school.”

Deandre’s mother says she has tried to reach out to board members and the Superintendent in hopes of coming to a resolution but hasn’t gotten a response.

She says her son isn’t allowed back to his school and can’t walk in his upcoming graduation until his dreadlocks are cut.

Sandy says she will not cut her son’s hair.

“Absolutely not. This is his belief. This is a part of who he is. So absolutely not. I’m not going to cut his hair.”

In a statement, the Barbers Hill School District says it has “a community-supported hair length policy and have had for decades. Barbers Hill is a state leader with high expectations in all areas.”

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