Ellen DeGeneres and Alicia Keys are supporting a teenager from Texas who’s high school is not allowing him to walk at the school’s spring graduation ceremony unless he cuts his dreadlocks.
DeAndre Arnold is a senior at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, Texas. Arnold tells Ellen that he’s been wearing his dreadlocks since the seventh grade. The school has a 30-year running dress code that states: “male students’ hair “must not extend below the top of a T-shirt collar, below the eyebrows, or below the ear lobes when let down.”
“Every day I would go to school, I would be in dress code, but the thing with them is, if it was let down, I would be out of dress code,” he tells DeGeneres.
Wittingly, Ellen asks Arnold if there are any girls with long hair at his school.
Arnold responded, “There’s plenty of girls with long hair at my school if girls can have long hair, why can’t I have long hair?”
Ellen said that was precisely her point, and she doesn’t understand.
Currently, Barbers Hill High isn’t allowing Arnold to attend school. If he goes to school, he’ll be put in in-school suspension, or sent to a reform school for students with learning disabilities and behavioral issues.
Regarding the students at alternative schools, Arnold told Ellen, “I wish the best for them, and I know they have good qualities in them, but I don’t deserve to be grouped with them.”
He told Ellen that his hair holds more meaning than what most would think. “My hair is really important to me because my dad is from Trinidad. …It’s part of our culture and our heritage, and I really wish the school would be open to other cultures. … And just at least try to tell you some things, don’t just shut us out.”
Arnold has never been in trouble before, until now, and is in excellent academic standing with hopes to become a veterinarian.
The talk-show host surprised him with a special visit from Alicia Keys and a check for $20,000 toward his college fund.
Ellen ended the visit with Arnold by looking into the camera and pleading with the school to let him walk with his peers this spring.
“I’ve worked for this all my life, I’ve strived for this. I deserve this moment to walk across stage and enter into life. My parents deserve this; they’re the ones who got me through anything and everything. They taught me everything; they deserve to see me walk across the stage,” he told Ellen DeGeneres.
With the world we live in today, it’s almost hard to believe that people care about the length of a kid’s hair this much, enough to get him on the Ellen Show.
What are your thoughts about this dress code? Are dress codes still appropriate today?
Lastly, let us know your thoughts in the comments!