DeAndre Arnold, a senior preparing to graduate from Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, Texas, has been informed by the school’s administration that he will not be able to participate in his graduation ceremony unless he cuts off his Locs. According to KPCR Houston, despite DeAndre having Locs for years and wearing his hair in compliance with the school’s dress code, he has been placed under in-school suspension.
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His mother, Sandy Arnold, declared that the school’s policy in regards to hairstyles states that, “(hair must be) off the shoulders above the earlobes and out of the eyes.” However, the mother revealed that the high school changed their dress code policy following Christmas break, just three months before the institution’s graduation ceremony.
DeAndre who is known for excelling in school and receives dual credit in his classes as an ‘A’ and ‘B’ student is of Trinidadian descent. He takes pride in his heritage, culture, and hair. In a statement given to KPCR, the teen stated:
“I really like that part of Trinidadian culture; I really embrace that.” In regards to the unethical treatment of his hair and the school’s new policy, he added, “They say that even (when) my hair is up if it were down it would be not in compliance with the dress code. However, I don’t take it down in school.”
According to the updated version of the Barbers Hill Student Handbook, male students’ hair can’t fall below the eyebrows and earlobes and can’t “extend below the top of a T-shirt collar.”
The Barbers Hill School District released a written statement saying:
“We do have a community-supported hair length policy & have had for decades. Barbers Hill is a state leader with high expectations in all areas!”
Unfortunately, DeAndre’s mother, Sandy has reached out to the school district’s superintendent and district board members to no avail. Sandy also stated that her son is currently no longer welcome at school and will not be able to walk the graduation stage unless his Locs are cut.
When asked if she was going to comply, Sandy responded, “Absolutely not, this is a part of who he is. So absolutely not going to cut his hair.”
In the past, high school institutions have attempted to police cultural hairstyles and faced extreme backlash, while those who appropriate hairstyles don’t understand the socio-political stigma of wearing one’s hair a certain way. At the end of the day, everyone should be in control of their own natural hair journey.
Check out the full story of DeAndre Arnold’s dress code struggle with Barbers Hill High School in the video provided below.