Alicia Keys, Ellen give teen who was suspended for his dreadlocks $20,000 check

FILE PHOTO: A Texas school district has suspended a teen for his dreadlocks hairstyle and may prohibit him from marching at graduation.
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FILE PHOTO: A Texas school district has suspended a teen for his dreadlocks hairstyle and may prohibit him from marching at graduation.

Credit: Fuse/Getty Images

Credit: Fuse/Getty Images

DeAndre Arnold was told his dreadlocks were too long. He was suspended and told he would not be allowed to walk with his class at graduation unless he cut them.

Arnold refused, his parents speaking with the Barbers Hill Independent School District, but the administrators would not budge, KHOU reported.

He has been out of class for weeks for taking a stand about the rules that he says make no sense.

When asked if girls have to comply with the same hair standards, he said no. The dress code specifically singles out boys, saying hair cannot be longer than earlobes, KHOU reported.

Hair is not allowed to touch the collar on boys.

Arnold said that he would secure his hair so it would not touch his collar trying to comply with the rules, The Washington Post reported. He has been growing his hair since seventh grade and until last month, the way he pulled his hair back was accepted, the Post reported.

“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,” he said on the “The Ellen Show” this week.

He also says his dreadlocks are a representation of his Trinidadian culture, KHOU reported.

DeGeneres used her show, and Arnold’s appearance, as a platform, pleading with those who run the district to reconsider the punishment.

Then the talk show host, along with singer/songwriter Alicia Keys, surprised the high school senior who wants to be a veterinarian with a $20,000 check to help pay college tuition.

“I couldn’t believe the story and I am super proud of you for standing up for what is right,” Keys said during the presentation.

The school has not responded to NBC NewsKHOU or The Washington Post's requests for comment, the news outlets reported.