January 27, 2020, 04:38:16 PM

Author Topic: Student will be barred from graduation unless he cuts his dreadlocks, school say  (Read 50 times)

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Offline asylumseeker

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Student will be barred from graduation unless he cuts his dreadlocks, school says
By Lateshia Beachum,  The Washington Post


A black Texas student might miss out on his senior prom and his high school graduation ceremony because he wears dreadlocks.

DeAndre Arnold, 18, has been growing his dreadlocks since he was a seventh-grade student in the Barbers Hill Independent School District in Mont Belvieu, he told Fox 26 Houston.

DeAndre’s father, David Arnold, is of Trinidadian descent, and men in his family often grow their dreadlocks past hip length, the teen told KPRC.

As his hair grew, he and his mother, Sandy Arnold, would cornrow it down or intricately tie up his locs in a voluminous dark brown and honey gold bun to make sure his hair was off his collar, away from his earlobes and out of his eyes so he could meet the school district’s dress-code policy.

Her styling was no longer enough for the school, Sandy Arnold told Fox 26 Houston. Right before the school’s winter break, she and her son were called into the Barbers Hill High School principal’s office, where they were given an ultimatum: Cut DeAndre’s dreadlocks or face in-school suspension.

“They say you can’t get around the dress code by having it up,” she told Fox 26 Houston’s Isiah Carey. “We’re at a standstill."

DeAndre is now suspended from school, KHOU-11 reported.

The Arnold family contends the dress-code policy concerning male hair was changed in the middle of the school year, they said in a Monday night school board meeting.

The school district is standing firm on its policy, which states male students can’t have their hair “gathered or worn in a style that would allow the hair to extend below” the collar, earlobes and eyes when let down.

DeAndre and his mother consider the policy to be sexist, something Barbers Hill superintendent Greg Poole disagrees with.

“Every school district in the nation has a dress code,” Poole told KHOU-11, while emphasizing that school districts have the right to make dress codes that meet local expectations of style. “I don’t think you can go to school in your underwear.”

DeAndre’s refusal to cut his hair has stopped him from returning to normal classes, and his mother claims his only other option is to consider attending a nearby alternative school, according KHOU-11.

“My hair has nothing to do with my ‘excellence,’ as we say in Barbers Hill,” the teenager told the station. “How smart I am, what job I’m going to get — my hair doesn’t determine that. I determine that for my character.”

Schane Niemann, a barber, said he has known about the district policy for years and has seen boys in his chair because of the dress code. His shop is across the street from the school.

“Every day we have kids coming in saying that the school makes them come over to get their hair cut because they’re not in compliance,” Niemann said in an interview with KHOU-11. He added, “It’s by far not a race issue.”

Local activists scoff at that assertion, considering the demographics of the district and its city. African Americans make up 3.1 percent of the school district’s population, according to school district data. The black population in Mont Belvieu, the city in which the school district is located, is 8.5 percent, according to census data.

Gerry Moore, the executive director of the United Urban Alumni Association, attended the school board meeting on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to scold the school board for not understanding the religious and cultural meaning of dreadlocks.

“I get it. You don’t understand locs because ain’t none of y’all black,” he said to board members, who are mostly white, amid finger snaps and mumbles of approval.

Other residents in the school district remarked about the reasons the policy should stand or not.

“I won’t stand for anybody bullying my child,” David Arnold said, stating that he and his wife have tried to address school board meetings with no luck to discuss the policy they say was amended in the middle of the school year. "All he wants to do is graduate.”

The issue has caught the attention of high-profile athletes and politicians.

California’s governor, Democrat Gavin Newsom, called the policy “racial discrimination” in a Thursday tweet and touted his state’s reputation as among the first to ban hair discrimination.

Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who shares a first name and wears a hairstyle similar to that of DeAndre Arnold, tweeted his support for Arnold on Wednesday.

Arnold has no intention of doing so.

“You can’t just let people walk all over you or anything like that,” he told KHOU-11. “You have to be willing to take a stand, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
« Last Edit: January 25, 2020, 04:08:06 AM by asylumseeker »
"It is not possible to make successful policy in a state of ignorance or indifference to what goes on in the real world." --- Martin Daly.

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The family is Trinbagonian.

Another chapter in the queue of matters involving school districts and similar pronouncements. Won't be the last.

He probably shouldn't have gone to a school district named Barbers Hill? :)

De barber smiling all de way to the bank.
"It is not possible to make successful policy in a state of ignorance or indifference to what goes on in the real world." --- Martin Daly.

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Quote
California’s governor, Democrat Gavin Newsom, called the policy “racial discrimination” in a Thursday tweet and touted his state’s reputation as among the first to ban hair discrimination.

Went into effect in July 2019. It is powerful in expression and worthy of digesting here - even at the risk of imputing race where it is not explicitly stated in the Texas matter above.

Quote
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) The history of our nation is riddled with laws and societal norms that equated “blackness,” and the associated physical traits, for example, dark skin, kinky and curly hair to a badge of inferiority, sometimes subject to separate and unequal treatment.

(b) This idea also permeated societal understanding of professionalism. Professionalism was, and still is, closely linked to European features and mannerisms, which entails that those who do not naturally fall into Eurocentric norms must alter their appearances, sometimes drastically and permanently, in order to be deemed professional.

(c) Despite the great strides American society and laws have made to reverse the racist ideology that Black traits are inferior, hair remains a rampant source of racial discrimination with serious economic and health consequences, especially for Black individuals.

(d) Workplace dress code and grooming policies that prohibit natural hair, including afros, braids, twists, and locks, have a disparate impact on Black individuals as these policies are more likely to deter Black applicants and burden or punish Black employees than any other group.

(e) Federal courts accept that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, and therefore protects against discrimination against afros. However, the courts do not understand that afros are not the only natural presentation of Black hair. Black hair can also be naturally presented in braids, twists, and locks.

(f) In a society in which hair has historically been one of many determining factors of a person’s race, and whether they were a second class citizen, hair today remains a proxy for race. Therefore, hair discrimination targeting hairstyles associated with race is racial discrimination.

(g) Acting in accordance with the constitutional values of fairness, equity, and opportunity for all, the Legislature recognizes that continuing to enforce a Eurocentric image of professionalism through purportedly race-neutral grooming policies that disparately impact Black individuals and exclude them from some workplaces is in direct opposition to equity and opportunity for all.

Ring ah bell for freedom.



"It is not possible to make successful policy in a state of ignorance or indifference to what goes on in the real world." --- Martin Daly.

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