Ellen DeGeneres welcomed Texas high school senior DeAndre Arnold, who made national news after he was told by school officials that he had to cut off his dreadlocks in order to return to classes.
DeAndre Arnold, who attends Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, Texas, made national news after his school told him he couldn’t walk at graduation unless he cuts his dreadlocks or wears them tied up in accordance with their dress code. DeAndre is also not allowed to return to school unless he puts his hair up or cuts it. DeAndre has already missed weeks of schooling.
DeAndre talked with Ellen about how he’s not allowed to walk at graduation and why he has stood his ground and has not given in to their policy.
DeAndre, who gets good grades and has never been in trouble, explains to DeGeneres his father is from Trinidad, and dreadlocks are a common part of the culture. As the student says he wishes his school would be more open to other cultures, DeGeneres insists: “I think that’s what school’s supposed to do is teach you about other cultures, you’re not supposed to teach them, they’re supposed to teach you.”
Arnold adds that if he did return to school tomorrow, his only options would be suspension or to be sent to an alternative school for kids with behavioral issues.
DeGeneres then looked directly into the camera and begged the school to do the right thing, “This kid is a good kid. He deserves to graduate, to walk with all the other kids. I’m urging you to do the right thing, please.”
Degeneres asked DeAndre at one point if there are girls in his school with long hair, to which he replied ‘of course there are girls in my school and yes they have long hair’. He also added, ‘If girls are allowed to wear their hair down, why can’t a guy?’.
Ellen also had a gift for him from her friends at Shutterfly, which was presented to DeAndre by Alicia Keys. Keys stated that she and Ellen believe in DeAndre and they want to invest in his bright future. DeAndre has hopes of going to college to become a veterinarian.