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Teen Told to Cut Dreadlocks Scores One Win

DeAndre Arnold now has $20K for college, thanks to Ellen
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2020 7:44 AM CST

(Newser) – Ellen DeGeneres is "begging" a Texas high school to reconsider its decision to bar a student from graduation over the length of his dreadlocks. "This kid is a good kid. He deserves to graduate, to walk with all the other kids … Please. Change your mind," she said Wednesday on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where DeAndre Arnold was her guest. She then welcomed Alicia Keys, who presented the aspiring veterinarian with a $20,000 college scholarship. "I'm super proud of you for standing up for what you know is right. I know the school needs to do the right thing," she said, per People. Arnold had explained that boys can't have hair touching their collar according to the dress code at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu. He says that if he returns to school, he's to serve an in-school suspension or attend a program for delinquent teens.

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Walking in graduation is apparently out of the question, though "I've worked for this all my life," Arnold said. But "if girls can have long hair, why can't I have long hair?" added the 18-year-old, who explained his hair is "part of our culture and our heritage." His dad is from Trinidad. "I really wish the school would kind of be open to other cultures," he said. "I think that's what school's supposed to do, teach you about other cultures," DeGeneres responded. "I just personally think you should be able to wear your hair however you want." Superintendent Greg Pool tells CNN that school officials are simply following the rules. "People want to call us racist, but we're following the rules, the law of the land," he said. "We're certainly not making this up." (More on Arnold's case here.)

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