Barbers Hill ISD meets following hair controversy

A school board meeting was held at Barbers Hill ISD headquarters where the family and supporters of De’Andre Arnold came out to let the district know they are crossing the line by forcing De’Andre to cut his hair.

De’Andre is a senior at Barbers Hill High School and has been a student at the district his entire life.

The issue was not on the agenda for Monday evening. It was only during the public forum where people had a chance to speak their minds. Opinions were split during the public portion of the meeting. Some people defended the district’s policy, while others opposed it. Everyone said their peace, but it ended there.

Eight years ago, he decided to grow his dreadlocks in a traditional Trinidadian style, but last month was told it needs to be cut. The district says the style is in violation of the district’s dress code which states:

“Male students’hair will not extend, at any time, below the eyebrows or below the ear lobes. Male students’ hair must not extend below the top of a t-shirt collar or be gathered or worn in a style that would allow the hair to extend below the top of a t-shirt collar, below the eyebrows, or below the ear lobes when let down.”

But those who spoke said that De'Andre is being singled out. 

"They have 48 hours to come up with a resolution," De'Andre's father said. "If not, we're going to take this to court, because they're in violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that pertains to discriminating against somebody in regards to their religion."

School officials did mention briefly that their issue is only the length of the hair, which for boys is not to go past the eyebrows or ear lobes. It seems as though this issue will have to be played out in court. 

On Tuesday, Barbers Hill ISD released the following statement:

"Barbers Hill ISD has a long standing dress code, but we absolutely allow dreadlocks. What we do not allow is any action that circumvents or violates the provision regarding hair length. The student in question was NEVER forbidden from attending school. The U.S. Constitution allows a school board the right to implement local community expectations, and Barbers Hill ISD’s continual academic and extra-curricular successes are a direct result of our communities’ high expectations."