You remember Texas high school student, DeAndre Arnold from January of this year? If not, he was the young man that was told that if he didn’t cut his locs, he would not be allowed to walk across the stage for graduation, despite the fact that the Barbers Hill High School student wore his locs up, to adhere to school policy.
The school policy stated that, “…male students’ hair should 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.”
Arnold received a slew of support from everyone from regular neighbors to celebrities as he refused to comply with the schools policy.
Never cut your locks Deandre Arnold.— Deandre Hopkins (@DeAndreHopkins) January 22, 2020
The policing, criticism, and all other forms of bullshit ass commentary about our hair… KEEP FIGHTING!!! They truly believe if you stay quiet, they've won. Don't be quiet. Do not let this stand. https://t.co/21JATafVvZ— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) January 23, 2020
And of course, lawsuits shortly thereafter ensued, stating that the policy was discriminatory.
Arnold and several other students voices have been heard as a federal judge in Texas has prevented the school district from enforcing the dress code policy.
“Locs are communicative, they express pride in one’s Black racial heritage, family heritage,” attorney Michaele Turnage Young, who represents Arnold and an additional student said. “It’s 2020, this is a basic recognition … but to have a federal court recognize that, it’s a huge step in the right direction.”
Arnold was unable to graduate from Barbers Hill High School and both he and the other student transferred out of the district.
In addition to gaining attention from an onslaught of celebrities and more, the case also gained attention from lawmakers in Texas. In February of this year, members of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus announced that they too will bring their own version of the CROWN Act to their 2021 legislative session. The CROWN Act was signed into law by California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), in July 2019, which made California the first state to protect Black people from hair discrimination.