Texas teen is Banned from his own graduation and suspended from school unless he cuts his dreadlocks

A Texas-based school has banned a high school boy from attending school because of his dreadlocks. A similar incident occurred with a Kensington Primary School student in Jamaica who was told to cut her dreadlocks before being admitted to the institution.

The 18-year-old Barbers High School pupil is determined to change the status quo of how his school views the manner in which pupils wear their hair even if it means him not walking with the rest of his peers during his graduation.

DeAndre Arnold found himself in a dilemma last year when his school gave him an ultimatum over his dreadlocks. DeAndre, who has been a scholar at the school, has been growing out of his dreadlocks over the past ten years without it being a problem.

However, that all changed in December 2019 when he was told that he had to cut them off during the holidays as his dreadlocks violate school rules. He was given an ultimatum that should he not heed the advice of the school board, he would face suspension and in turn not walk on stage with the rest of his peers during their graduation ceremony.

Both the school board and the superintendent Greg Poole, have refused DeAndre’s application to appeal his suspension. Greg pointed out that the issues the school has is not with DeAndre’s dreadlocks but their length.  Greg further informed that there is no dress code policy that prohibits any cornrows or any other method of wearing of the hair. Our policy limits the length, it’s been this way for over 30 years.

This statement DeAndre’s parents rebut with his mother calling out the school for having “sexist” rules as it allows girls to wear their hair in all sorts of different styles. DeAndre’s father is a Trinidadian origin and hair is at the forefront of representation of culture and heritage that’s why he stands in solidarity with his son’s decision not to cut his hair to collar length as the school demands. The Mom explained that her son always has his hair tied appropriately at school which in no way violates school rules.

The 18 year-old has gained support from Black Lives Matter Houston activists and United Urban Alumni Association. The groups staged a protest outside the Barbers Hill High School’s Board Meeting on Monday night, Martin Luther King Jnr Day, to decry what they say is a discriminatory policy reported in the Daily Mail.

Contributed by HE Prof Colin O Jarrett – Director of News and Current Affairs

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