DeAndre’s father, David Arnold, is of Trinidadian descent, and men in his family often grow their dreadlocks past hip length, the teen told KPRC.
As his hair grew, he and his mother, Sandy Arnold, would cornrow it down or intricately tie up his locs in a voluminous dark brown and honey gold bun to make sure his hair was off his collar, away from his earlobes and out of his eyes so he could meet the school district’s dress-code policy.
DeAndre is now suspended from school, KHOU-11 reported.
The Arnold family contends the dress-code policy concerning male hair was changed in the middle of the school year, they said in a Monday night school board meeting.
The school district is standing firm on its policy, which states male students can’t have their hair “gathered or worn in a style that would allow the hair to extend below” the collar, earlobes and eyes when let down.
A recent Fox 26 segment, Fox didn’t attempt to contact our PR Dir. which is irresponsible journalism. FTR, BH DOES allow dreadlocks. However we DO have a community supported hair length policy & have had for decades. BH Is a State leader with high expectations in ALL areas!
“Every school district in the nation has a dress code,” Poole told KHOU-11, while emphasizing that school districts have the right to make dress codes that meet local expectations of style. “I don’t think you can go to school in your underwear.”
“My hair has nothing to do with my ‘excellence,’ as we say in Barbers Hill,” the teenager told the station. “How smart I am, what job I’m going to get — my hair doesn’t determine that. I determine that for my character.”
Schane Niemann, a barber, said he has known about the district policy for years and has seen boys in his chair because of the dress code. His shop is across the street from the school.
“Every day we have kids coming in saying that the school makes them come over to get their hair cut because they’re not in compliance,” Niemann said in an interview with KHOU-11. He added, “It’s by far not a race issue.”
Gerry Monroe, the executive director of the United Urban Alumni Association, attended the school board meeting on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to scold the school board for not understanding the religious and cultural meaning of dreadlocks.
“I get it. You don’t understand locs because ain’t none of y’all black,” he said to board members, who are mostly white, amid finger snaps and mumbles of approval.
Other residents in the school district remarked about the reasons the policy should stand or not.
The issue has caught the attention of high-profile athletes and politicians.
California’s governor, Democrat Gavin Newsom, called the policy “racial discrimination” in a Thursday tweet and touted his state’s reputation as among the first to ban hair discrimination.
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://twitter.com/ajplus/status/1220130734008086533 …
A Black teen in Texas was suspended and won’t be able to walk at graduation bc his school says his dreadlocks are too long.
DeAndre Arnold’s mother told @FOX26Houston his hair “is a part of his culture, his dad is a Trinidadian… how can I put him in a barber chair.” [Fox 26]
“You can’t just let people walk all over you or anything like that,” he told KHOU-11. “You have to be willing to take a stand, and that’s what I’m going to do.”