MONT BELVIEU, Texas – A Texas school district has been under fire for barring a high school senior from graduating unless the teen cut his dreadlocks, and now, his family has removed him from the district.
Barbers Hill Independent School District student Deandre Arnold, who is African American with Trinidadian descent, has been growing his dreads for years because of his culture.
A few months before graduation, the school district found Arnold in violation of hair length policy in the dress code.
Arnold and his family have been fighting the district, arguing that the dress code is a violation of his civil rights.
The high school senior was told that if he did not cut his hair, the school would take disciplinary action that would threaten his participation in senior activities, including graduation.
The dispute gained national attention, even from celebrities and politicians, catching the eye of Houston Texans star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and Cal. Governor Gavin Newsom.
Hopkins issued a tweet in support of Arnold on Wednesday.
Never cut your locks Deandre Arnold.
— Deandre Hopkins (@DeAndreHopkins) January 22, 2020
Later that day, the school district’s superintendent highlighted the scrutiny the district has received over its dress code policy.
BH has received scrutiny regarding our high level of expectations on all things & dress code. Yet our African American students beat the state average on passing STAR by 22% & our overall passing scores are the highest in the state.
Sounds like high expectations work!
— BarbersHillSUPT (@BarbersHillSoup) January 23, 2020
Newsom tweeted about Arnold on Thursday.
This is racial discrimination. And it’s played out every day across our country — in workplaces, schools, sports — in ways that are subtle and in ways that are overt.
I’m proud that CA became the first state to ban hair discrimination.
Other states should follow. https://t.co/rN6j51kOTB
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) January 23, 2020
On Friday, Arnold’s family withdrew him from the school district and enrolled him in another school.
African-American News&Issues supports DeAndre Arnold and the family’s decision. Never cut your dreads DeAndre, KEEP YOUR BLACKNESS!