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Texas Teen Told To Cut His Locs In Order To Graduate Receives $20,000 Scholarship From Ellen

Texas Teen Told To Cut His Locs In Order To Graduate Receives $20,000 Scholarship From Ellen

A little hope to brighten your day!

DeAndre Arnold, a Texas teen who made national headlines after being told to cut his locs in order to graduate, was just given a $20,000 scholarship by Ellen DeGeneres.

Arnold is a senior at Barbers Hill Independent School District in Mont Belvieu, Texas. The school has a strict dress code policy that prevents men’s hair from extending past their ear lobes. Although Arnold has been growing his locs for years and keeps his hair up at school, following the Christmas break, the 18-year-old was given an ultimatum due to a revision in the school’s policy, cut his hair or risk not walking across the stage at graduation, Black Enterprise reports.

The story garnered national attention and Arnold and his family, rightfully so, said they would not give into the policy and cutting his hair was not an option. Media mogul Ellen DeGeneres learned about the incident and invited Arnold on her show to talk about the situation.

“I’m sure this is not easy or comfortable for you. But I want you to just relax and know that I’m here for you. You get good grades. You’ve never been in trouble, ever. This is the first time anything has come up. And now, you haven’t been in school for weeks because of this situation,” Ellen told Arnold. 

Arnold acknowledged that everything Ellen said was true, confirming that he’s since been suspended from school for violating the district’s hair length policy. “Every day I would go to school, I would be in dress code. But the thing with [the school] is, if it was let down, I would be out of dress code. [My hair is] really important to me because my dad is from Trinidad. I really wish the school would kind of be open to other cultures and just, at least let us try to tell you some things. Don’t just shut us out,” he told Ellen.

Ellen then made a plea with the school district, asking them to reconsider their decision and “do the right thing.” She then surprised Arnold with a $20,000 scholarship, presented by R&B superstar Alicia Keys. 

“I want to tell you that, I couldn’t believe the story when I heard it. And I’m super proud of you for standing up for what you know is right. And I know that the school needs to do the right thing,” Keys told Arnold.

We agree. You are doing the right thing DeAndre! Keep fighting the good fight and setting a great example.

Thanks Ellen and Alicia for paying it forward!

Photo Courtesy of Ellen/YouTube