High School senior Deandre Arnold is at the center of a hair controversy in Mont Belvieu, TX. A dispute with the Barbers Hill Independent School District over his hair has become a huge topic on social media. Earlier today, Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins tweeted his support for Arnold, urging him to never cut his locks. Like Hopkins, Arnold wears his hair in dreadlocks and has for years. According to KPRC 2, his hair has only recently become an issue.
Deandre's mother, Sandy Arnold, says that her son has always worn his hair tied up at school to be compliant with the school district's dress code. After the Christmas break Deandre was told that he must cut his hair so that it would be off his shoulders, above the earlobes, and out of the eyes, if he were to take it down.
Arnold has refused to cut his hair and says his dreadlocks are part of his culture. His family is from Trinidad. The school district has been insistent that he must cut his hair and has given him in-school suspension until he complies. Deandre graduates in May and he has also been told that he will not be allowed to walk in the graduation ceremony unless he cuts his dreadlocks. The school district maintains that they do allow dreadlocks, but that all students' hair must be within the established hair length policy.
The debate continued at a Monday night school board meeting. Community members on both sides of the issue shared their opinions. Members of the Arnold family and several activists voiced their opposition, some calling the district's actions bullying and implying that their enforcement of the policy is racially motivated. Barbers Hill ISD remains adamant in their position and had refused to place the topic on the agenda for discussion at future meetings. The Arnold family has said that they may have no choice but to take legal action to try and resolve the matter.