All this came as a shock to Arnold and his family, as they claims that he has always adhered to school code when it comes to his hair length and how he wears it.
According to Arnold’s mother, the school changed their hair policy over Christmas break, three months before graduation was due to take place. The school released this statement, ”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!”
Arnold, who’s family is from Trinidad, contends his hair is part of his cultural background and in compliance with the school’s new policy. “I really like that part of Trinidadian culture; I really embrace that. 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.”
When asked if she was going to cut her sons hair Arnold’s mother replied, ”Absolutely not, this is a part of who he is. So absolutely not going to cut his hair.” The teen is no longer welcomed at the high school and being that they have no intention of cutting his locs, Arnold will not be allowed to participate in graduation.
Arnold’s plight is shared with his cousin Kaden Bradford, who also attends Barbers Hill High School. 16-year-old Bradford has been on home suspension since last week and faces further disciplinary action, including being kicked off out of Band, if he does not cut his locs.
Meanwhile, Arnold has found support all over social media, with Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who also has dreds, posting a tweet directed at Arnold, “Never cut your locks Deandre Arnold.”
Never cut your locks Deandre Arnold.
— Deandre Hopkins (@DeAndreHopkins) January 22, 2020
Others jumped in with words of support:
No one should ever be forced to cut their hair. pic.twitter.com/xOe7veoV6I
— Toi McMullen (@sex_novelist) January 22, 2020
How does long hair even interfere with learning? My son had hair to the middle of his back in HS and it wasn't a problem with our school district. I see people with tattoos and piercings and as long as you respect others what's the problem?
— Brenda Cavazos (@Brendabakecakes) January 22, 2020
I’m a 70 yr old white woman but back in my hs girls weren’t allowed to wear pants, a few of us showed up in pants & got suspended then the whole school walked out several days in a row shutting the mf-er down.I hope the other students at this hs stand with this student.
— gwheezie (@geewheezie) January 24, 2020
You can't be serious… This again? Let people wear their hair…
— KT (@texasborn96) January 22, 2020