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Ellen Surprises Teen Told to Cut His Dreadlocks By School, Awarded $20,000 Scholarship

Gettyimages | Tibrina Hobson
By Zachary Holt

Ellen DeGeneres has made a reputation of surprising people in unfortunate circumstances with life-changing gifts, whether that is a check for thousands of dollars, a house, or even gifts during the holiday season.

In fact, during the 2020 Golden Globes, the daytime television host was awarded a lifetime achievement designation for her consistent work with helping others. Her knack for rectifying situations, at least in some regard, wouldn't stop after she received the award, though.

Recently, she hosted an African-American student named DeAndre Arnold who is being barred from returning to school and graduating for his refusal to cut his dreadlocks.

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Ellen Tries to Make Arnold Comfortable As He Appeared Nervous On Stage

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On Wednesday, Arnold appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show where the host appeared to be really concerned at what was happening with her guest and the school that was making unprecedented demands.

At the beginning of the segment, DeGeneres tried to comfort Arnold, who was noticeably nervous. She tried to reassure him that he was on the show because she was concerned about what was happening.

"I'm sure this is not easy or comfortable for you," she began. "But I want you to just relax and know that I'm here for you."That's why you're here," she continued. "Because I don't understand this."

Student Suspended From High School For Not Cutting His Dreadlocks


Arnold was suspended by his high school due to the length of his dreadlocks. His principal personally told him that he would need to cut them if he wanted to be welcomed back at the school. This is despite the fact that Arnold is a fantastic student and has never been in trouble.

"You get good grades," DeGeneres 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." It was apparent that this matter was truly heartbreaking for the host.

'I Think That's What School's Supposed To Do... Teach You About Other Cultures'

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For DeGeneres, it was important that Arnold shared with her and the audience why he thought dreadlocks were important. Arnold revealed," It's really important to me because my dad is from Trinidad." He continued, "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."

DeGeneres, of course, agreed with the student, citing that schools are supposed to be a place where tolerance is present and young people get the chance to learn about other cultures. "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."

Arnold Adhered To The Dress Code Everyday, Despite Being Suspended


Arnold, getting the chance to speak for himself, shared that he always adhered to the provided dress code. He claimed that he always kept his hair above his shoulders, behind his ears, and out of his eyes. When at school, he would tie it up in the back of his head, which was consistent with the expectations. According to Arnold, he was only informed about his suspension and alleged dress code violation after Christmas Break.

"Every day I would go to school, I would be in dress code," he shared with DeGeneres. "But the thing with them is, if it was let down, I would be out of dress code." When asked if girls wore their hair down, he replied, "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 Makes Personal Plea with Arnold's High School to Reinstate Him


After hearing everything that she needed to, she personally addressed the camera and Arnold's school, Barbers Hill High School, specifically, pleading with them to do the right thing.

"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."

Afterward, the television host invited Grammy Award-winning artist, Alicia Keys, to the stage to present Arnold with a scholarship for $20,000 to the college of his choice.

"I want to tell you that, I couldn't believe the story when I heard it," Keys said to 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."

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