Barbers Hill High School officials told senior DeAndre Arnold last month that he couldn't walk at graduation if he refused to cut his hair — dreadlocks he said he’s been growing since seventh grade.
School officials said he was in violation of a dress code policy, according to media reports.
In April 2019, Pearland middle schooler Juelz Trice was given a choice between in-school suspension and filling in his shaved hair design with a Sharpie.
Both students are black.
Only three states have laws to block discriminatory hair policies that are perceived to target people of color in schools and workplaces. Many more are considering similar laws, though Texas is not one of them. Public education advocates worry that students who get repeatedly flagged for minor offenses — like refusing to cut their hair shorter —spend less time in the classroom learning and are at higher risk for dropping out.
Because of privacy laws and muddied data collection, dress code violations that target hair are often hidden in school disciplinary reports. But we want to know more about them. Have you encountered hair-based discrimination in a Texas public school? Fill out the form below, and we’ll be in touch.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the punishment DeAndre Arnold received for his hair.