MONT BELVIEU – Mont Belvieu, a small town in Chambers and Liberty counties, is making a lot of noise over hair. The issue is how long the hair of male students at Barbers Hill High School should be.
Many students and parents gathered to show support at a park near the school Thursday night. They said that student Deandre Arnold is not the only one being targeted by the district’s dress code.
“I cut it (my hair) a little shorter, just got a little bit off,” said senior Jonathan Randel. “Then I came back the next, and they told me that it was still too long.”
Randel said he’s been wearing his hair long since seventh grade. He said has had to spend nearly $40 in just the past two days on haircuts to meet the district’s policy.
Randel and other students believe the hair policy is biased against boys.
“Girls can cut their hair as short as a guy can and have it as long as they want too,” said student Brandon Hernandez. “So I think it should be the same for guys. I think we should be able to grow our hair out as long as we want to and have it as short as we want to.”
Many students said the district didn’t start cracking down on the dress code until after the Christmas break -- for one main reason.
“Once we first got on the news with DeAndre (Arnold) then it just started becoming a problem,” Hernandez said.
Arnold is Barbers Hill senior who has been told his hair is not in compliance with the district’s dress code. His family said his dreadlocks are part of their Trinidadian culture, and he has been out of school since refusing to cut his hair to meet the district’s dress code. On Friday, his mother said she withdrew Arnold from the high school.
“He is absolutely permitted to come back to school,” said Barbers Hill ISD Superintendent Greg Poole. “Now, full clarification, if he’s in violation what we would do with him is what we’d do with any student is he could possibly go into in-school suspension.”
Other male students, including Randel and Hernadez, said they also have been told if they are not in compliance with the dress code by Monday they could face the option of in-school suspension.