By now we’ve learned that non people of color have a heavy opinion on what we can and can’t do with our hair. No matter the amount of state laws passed denouncing discrimination against natural hair, there are still states that don’t feel natural hair and it’s length is professional enough for educational environments.
Deandre Arnold has been suspended from Barbers Hill ISD school and won’t be allowed to walk at graduation in three months unless he cuts his locs.
While the school district says this has nothing to do with race or locs, Gary Monroe, with the United Urban Alumni Association disagrees. “This is a black and white issue,” said Monroe in a statement to KHOU. “Deandre (and) his family should not have to go through this. But I expect it from a board that has zero diversity.”
“There is no dress code policy that prohibits any cornrow or any other method of wearing of the hair,” said Superintendent Greg Poole. “Our policy limits the length. It’s been that way for 30 years.”
This antiquated policy has the potential of ruining the graduation experience of a young man because of the length of his hair. Some people think this is a quick fix and Deandre Arnold should just cut his hair. The bigger question is how does the length of his locs pose a threat to others? Has his hair distracted him from earning good grades? Should the length of his natural hair determine whether or not he can walk for graduation despite the hard work he’s put in throughout the school year?
“We’re here for Deandre, but it’s about more than that,” said Sandy Arnold, Deandre’s mother. “This is about all the other Deandres that could come through Barbers Hill.”
Hopefully the school reconsiders their policy. “They have 48 hours to come up with a resolution or we’re taking this to federal court,” said Monroe.
It is commendable that the family is opting to take this to court so that the generations after Deandre can wear their hair at whatever length makes them happy.