Texas Teen Receives Ultimatum: Cut Locs Or Forgo Graduation Ceremony

The family and friends of a Texas high schooler are fighting back after they say a discriminatory policy at his school is putting him in danger of not walking at his graduation.

After returning from Christmas break, Deandre Arnold says the school suspended him for wearing his hair in locs. Barbers Hill School District officials claimed that he was in violation of his school’s dress code, which states that men cannot wear their hair beyond a certain length. The decision has angered Arnold, his family, and activists alike who, on Monday, went to a school board meeting to tell school officials exactly how they felt, KHOU11 reports.

18-year-old Deandre Arnold has been a student at Barbers Hill ISD his entire life and has been growing his dreadlocks since he was 10 years old with no issues. For some reason back in December, Deandre was told to get rid of the dreads or spend the rest of the year in in-school suspension, which would mean he couldn't walk the graduation stage with the rest of his classmates in the spring. If you support Deandre Arnold, call Barbers Hill ISD to voice your opinion on Tuesday after Martin Luther King Jr. Day at 281-576-2221.

Posted by Isiah Carey on Friday, January 17, 2020

“The dress code is designed by white people for white people and is damaging to black Bodies,” Black Lives Matter activist Ashton Woods said at the meeting. Those in support of Arnold say that the 18-year-old’s Trinidadian culture is being attacked and racial discrimination is at play.

Greg Poole, the Superintendent of Barbers Hill Independent School District, disputes that claim. On Monday, he told those who showed up to advocate on behalf of the teen that the policy has been in place for more than 30 years and the school allows other traditionally Black hairstyles like “cornrow[s] or any other method of wearing of the hair.”

Texas Teen Receives Ultimatum: Cut Locs Or Forgo Graduation Ceremony

Others showed up at the board meeting to stand with the school district and urge it not to change the rules. 

Deandre’s mother Sandra Arnold says she is giving the school board two days to come up with a resolution in her son’s case. She is also vowing to take the case to a federal court if the situation involving Deandre does not change.

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The high school senior, who is said to be an A-B student, is expected to graduate in 3 months. As of now, he and his family are standing firm on not cutting his hair, which means he will be ineligible to walk in his graduation.