- A student from Texas received $20,000 from Ellen DeGeneres and Alicia Keys
- DeAndre Arnold was not allowed to go to school or his graduation because of his hair, which he kept on dreadlocks, as part of their culture
- Ellen said DeAndre gets good grades and is not causing trouble in school so she hopes the school administrators would change their mind
A student who was not allowed to go to school or his graduation due to his hair, which he has kept in dreadlocks as part of their culture, received a $20,000 check from Ellen DeGeneres and Alicia Keys.
DeAndre Arnold, who was invited to The Ellen Show, is in his senior year in a school in Texas.
“I know this is weird for you because you’re in a school in a small town in Texas and all of a sudden, this is national news. Now, you’re on television and I know this is not easy or comfortable for you but I want you to just relax and know that I’m here for you,” she told him during the episode.
Ellen said she does not understand why DeAndre’s dreadlocks would matter if he gets good grades and does not get into trouble at school.
“This is the first time anything has come up and now you haven’t been to school for weeks because of this situation,” Ellen said.
She also asked DeAndre to explain why his hair is important to him.
“My hair is really important to me because my dad is from Trinidad and you know, it’s part of our culture and our 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,” he responded.
To which, Ellen agreed and said, “I think what schools are supposed to do is teach you about other cultures. You’re not supposed to teach them, they’re supposed to teach you,” she said.
DeAndre said he believes he deserves to be able to attend his graduation because he worked hard for it for the past years.
“I’ve strived for this. I deserve this moment, to walk across the stage. My parents deserve this. They’re the ones who got me through anything and you know, they just taught me everything. They deserve to see me walk across the stage,” he said.
Before the interview ended, singer Alicia Keys presented him with a check of $20,000, which can help him pursue his dream of becoming a veterinarian.
“I want to tell you that I couldn’t believe the story when I heard it and I am super proud of you for standing up for what you know is right,” Keys said.