Ellen came out in support of DeAndre Arnold and made a public appeal to officials to "do the right thing."
DeAndre Arnold, a senior at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, who started growing his hair out in the 7th grade, was recently suspended for not cutting his hair. Now, Ellen DeGeneres has come to the teenager's rescue as she surprised him with a $20,000 scholarship, reports NBC News. DeAndre Arnold appeared in an episode of The Ellen Show—still with his dreadlocks—that aired on Wednesday. At the start of the segment, Ellen told Arnold, "I'm sure this is not easy or comfortable for you," referring to his appearance on television. "But I want you to just relax and know that I'm here for you."
DeAndre deserves better. pic.twitter.com/f06bVcm74X— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) January 29, 2020
"That's why you're here. Because I don't understand this," continued Ellen. Arnold mentioned he was suspended over the length of his dreadlocks and his principal told him that he needed to cut his hair if he wanted to come back to school or even attend his own graduation. "You get good grades," the two-time Academy Awards host said. "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."
y’all this is some bull shit. he goes to my school. if his dad can follow the rules for work why can’t he follow the rules for school. there is so much y’all don’t know.— Rylee (@htx_ryleee) January 30, 2020
Arnold, who has had had the dreadlocks for years, said that he's always maintained the dress code as he kept his hair off his shoulders, above his earlobes, and out of his eyes by tying up his dreadlocks. However, he was informed after Christmas break that he was violating the rules, he told Ellen. "Every day I would go to school, I would be in dress code," he said. "But the thing with them is, if it was let down, I would be out of dress code."
All this and the Elementary school my boys went to... My neighbors daughter changes her hair color every week along with some of her friends . Pink blue, green, black, brown and with a mohawk right along with her brother. Let kids be kids and let them be them.— NATALIE HUNT (@hbr_hunt) January 30, 2020
Ellen then asked him if there were girls in school with long hair and he said yes. "There's plenty of girls with long hair at my school. Like, if girls can have long hair, why can't I have long hair?" Ellen remarked that she was trying to make the same point. "I just personally think you should be able to wear your hair however you want, especially if there are girls with long hair," she said. "What's the difference if girls have long hair and if guys have long hair?"
Made me cry. He's so brave, he WILL succeed despite the school. Already HAS succeeded. They must change their minds. Regarding veterinary school? I'm 58, wanted to be a veterinarian. Animals were everything to me. I was discouraged due to "too much school." GO for it ! <3— brendajohima 💎 (@brendajohima) January 29, 2020
The 62-year-old host went on to add that she did not think the policy was fair and asked Arnold to explain why his dreadlocks were important to him. "It's really important to me because my dad is from Trinidad," he told her, mentioning that his dreadlocks were part of his culture and heritage. "And 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."
I am so glad that Ellen brings these subjects up. Where's the justice. This child was abused by the school. My own younger brother got kicked off his basketball team for having long hair back in the 80's . Wrong then and wrong now.— Deplorable for Trump (@JudySeiple) January 29, 2020
Ellen agreed. "I think that's what school's supposed to do," she said, "is teach you about other cultures. You're not supposed to teach them. They're supposed to teach you." Barbers Hill High School and the Barbers Hill Independent School District have not responded to multiple requests for comment. This prompted Ellen to look into the camera and urge officials to "do the right thing."
This is so damn crazy. My son has locks to mid back and he had the same problem in school. They had me come pick my son up because his locks were in his face. My son was so upset and they even tried to convince me of why he needs to type his hair up. They almost had me too.— LaShQuin Beauty (@lashquinbeauty) January 29, 2020
"I am begging you. This kid is a good kid. He deserves to graduate, to walk with all the other kids," she said. "He's a good guy. I just am urging you to do the right thing. Please." After this, Ellen invited Alicia Keys on stage to award Arnold a $20,000 scholarship for college. "I want to tell you that, I couldn't believe the story when I heard it," Keys told Arnold. "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." Arnold plans on studying to become a veterinarian. You can watch the entire interview right here: