Last week, a Texas teen by the name of DeAndre Arnold was told that he would not be able to participate in his high school graduation ceremony unless he cut off his locs. Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, Texas, claims that the teen’s hair goes against the district’s dress code and was placed under in-school suspension. Since then, Arnold and his mother Sandy, have addressed the school’s oppressive practices and refused to deny the teen of representing his Trinidadian roots.
After gaining the attention of national media outlets, DeAndre and his mother were invited as guests to The Ellen Show to discuss the Barbers Hill Independent School District’s recently instated policy that has Arnold, an ‘A’ and ‘B’ student, disinvited to his own graduation ceremony. Ellen DeGeneres kicked off the conversation with the 18-year-old expressing her support of Arnold’s decision to not comply with the demands of the Texas-based institution.
DeAndre explained how his locs are currently relevant to his Trinidadian culture and how the school is attempting to force into alternative school for the remainder of his high school career. The bright teen also revealed that he wants to attend college in order to be a veterinarian.
After revealing his frustration with the school and his post-graduation plans, Ellen pleaded into the camera for Arnold’s school district to reconsider letting the student walk the graduation stage alongside his peers this spring. Then the Emmy Award-winning talk show host called upon Alicia Keys, who hosted the 2020 Grammys, to present DeAndre with a scholarship worth $20,000 for his upcoming collegiate endeavors.
CNN reached out to the school’s superintendent, Greg Poole, last week who stated:
“People want to call us racist, but we’re following the rules, the law of the land. We’re certainly not making this up,” in defense of the school’s dress code policy.
With the oppression of black hairstyles being a common theme in society, hopefully, DeAndre Arnold and others continue to stand against the injustices brought up against alternative cultural lifestyles and aesthetics.
Check out the DeAndre Arnold’s full Ellen Show interview below and look out for Alicia Keys’ new album, A.L.I.C.I.A (2020), to drop in the month of March.