The Louisiana high school valedictorian who was barred from his graduation because of his facial hair, has been given a proper ceremony a month after the fact.
According to The Associated Press, on Friday roughly 200 people showed up for a special commencement event hosted by Democratic state Rep. Katrina Jackson and the Rev. Roosevelt Wright III for high school senior Andrew Jones.
Held in at the African-American Heritage Museum in Hammond, LA, the 4.0 GPA star student received a car and multiple cash scholarships for his tenacity, intelligence and high principles, WDSU noted.
“He was unfairly excluded from the most important day of his life,” Jackson and Wright said in a statement. “A beard should NEVER upstage academic excellence.”
Speakers at Jones’ personal graduation also included, Willie Larkin, president of Grambling State University who affirmed Jones for sticking up for himself.
“You didn’t do anything wrong. As a matter of fact, you did everything right,” Larkin said to Jones and the crowd. “What has happened has happened. Do not spend your time focusing onto this past. Your great future is ahead of you.”
HELLO BEAUTIFUL reported previously last month that Jones was denied access to his own graduation for not following the Tangipahoa Parish Schools System’s strict dress code policy that states, “Hairstyles and mustaches shall be clean, neatly groomed and shall not distract from the learning environment nor be a safety factor for any of the school’s curricular offerings. Beards will not be allowed. Any hairstyle that distract from the unique environment of a school shall be dealt with by the principal or his/her designee of that school.”
Jones was turned away from his own graduation when he refused to shave his goatee.
“It don’t make sense, every day of school I went with it, even more, I did shave,” Jones previously said “I had like sides and everything, but I shaved that for graduation.”
The teen has since filed a lawsuit against the school district. However, the school defends their actions saying that Jones refused to submit to the rules, even when asked repeatedly.
Either way, congrats to you Andrew! Facial hair or not; big things are definitely coming your way.