DeAndre Arnold and Kaden Bradford are African American teenagers from Texas who refused to cut their dreadlocks, despite pressures from their school. They were both suspended as a result. Now their families are filing a lawsuit against the Barbers Hill Independent School District as well as the superintendent and deputy superintendent of the district, according to Today.
Arnold, who is 18 years old, made headlines in January when he was suspended from school after refusing to cut his hair in order to obey the school dress code. He was also told he would not be permitted to walk at his graduation. He explained that he had worn his hair in dreadlocks for years, as did the rest of the men in his family. Still, the school did not reverse its decision. The story angered many and he received the support of several celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres, Gabrielle Union, and Dwyane Wade.
Bradford, Arnold’s cousin, was also told that he would either have to cut his hair or he would be suspended. Bradford, who is 16 years old, also refused.
The boys’ mothers, Cindy Bradford and Sandy Arnold, officially filed the lawsuit. The lawsuit claims that it is the teens’ right to wear their hair how they please and that they should not be discriminated against for following their cultural heritage.
“The length of locs have no bearing on students’ capacity to learn, yet these wholly arbitrary grooming policies limit the mobility of Black children in public and private spaces, deny them equal educational opportunities, and strike at the freedom and dignity of Black people,” and the hair policy “has no legitimate purpose, is wholly arbitrary, and impermissibly regulates how students can wear their hair both inside and outside of school,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit alleges that the hair policy is “discriminatory” and that both boys “have suffered, and will continue to suffer, humiliation and emotional distress” because they were targeted in this way. While the money the lawsuit is calling for has not been revealed publicly, it is known that they are looking to be paid back for their attorney fees and want the school district to change their hair and grooming policy in order to be more inclusive.
This story upon the topic of alleged discrimination comes during a time where racial division is highly prevalent throughout the United States. As The Inquisitr previously reported, the death of Georgy Floyd, the African American man who died at the hands of police, has resulted in rioting and protests across the country.