Dress Code vs. Discrimination: Texas Teen Told to Cut Off Dreadlocks

Following the DeAndre Hopkins Story

Jazmyn Hill, Reporter

In late January, a Texas teenager named DeAndre Hopkins was told he had to cut off his dreadlocks in order to participate in  his high school graduation.

“I would be very upset. They should be able to have the hair the way they want. It’s an important part of his culture… It’s like not allowing someone to celebrate a religious holiday,” junior Randi Martin said.

Hopkins is a senior at Barber’s Hill High School, and he has been growing out his hair since he was in the seventh grade, according to the Washington Post, which also reports that Hopkins is half-Trinidadian, and dreadlocks are a common part of his culture.

“My hairstyle, nor what I wear or look like, should not depict anything regarding my education. I should be allowed to represent my culture. Without compromising my education,” senior Dream Miller said. “What if he were growing out his hair to donate?”

The Despite Hopkins’ attempt to accommodate both his culture and his school’s dress code by wearing his hair in a bun, it wasn’t enough. Hopkins is currently suspended from the school until he cuts his hair.

“I don’t see any logic behind it except discrimination. I believe it’ll always be there, that they’ll see him as different and [thus] try to mold them into something they’re not. Even if they are different cultures, they need to respect that,” Miller said. “I would fight to [not have to cut my hair], but if it comes down to it, I will, but I would fight first.”

Hopkins also believes that the issue is most likely due to his gender, according to the Washington Post. The article proves his correct by inserting a quote from the school’s dress code policy, stating that “male students can’t have their hair ‘gathered or worn in a style that should allow the hair to be extended below’ the collar, earlobes, and eyes when let down.

“Honestly, I feel like it’s almost more about his gender because girls have the same hairstyle without reparations,“ Martin said. “Honestly, I would do it just to graduate but file a lawsuit afterward.”

In regards to hair, the wording of the student handbook of Barbers Hill High School is, “Male students’ hair will 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,” (pg. 52).

However, per the article, DeAndre Hopkins has made the decision to keep his hairstyle, which gained his story media publicity and a spot on The Ellen Show.

To see to Barbers High School Dress code, click here.
To see view the Washington Post article, click here.