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Ellen and Alicia Keys surprise suspended student DeAndre Arnold with $20,000 for college

Ellen DeGeneres welcomed embattled Texas high school student DeAndre Arnold to her show on Wednesday, making a heartfelt plea for him to return to school along with a big surprise from Alicia Keys.

Arnold, 18, made headlines last week when he was banned from Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, Texas for wearing dreadlocks, which the school claims is against their dress code policy.

Not only that, but Arnold was not being allowed to walk in his graduation ceremony unless he cut his hair, but Ellen issues a heartfelt plea to the school administrators to change their mind.

Surprise: Ellen DeGeneres welcomed embattled Texas high school student DeAndre Arnold to her show on Wednesday, making a heartfelt plea for him to return to school along with a big surprise from Alicia Keys

Ellen began by telling Arnold she realized this isn’t, ‘easy or comfortable’ for the teenager, but made it clear that she’s ‘here’ for him and that’s why he’s there.

She added that she didn’t understand why he needed to cut his hair in order to return to school, because he gets, ‘good grades’ and he’s, ‘never been in trouble.’ 

Arnold hasn’t been in school for weeks because of this issue, as he revealed this started sometime after the Christmas holiday break.

No trouble: She added that she didn't understand why he needed to cut his hair in order to return to school, because he gets, 'good grades' and he's, 'never been in trouble'

No trouble: She added that she didn’t understand why he needed to cut his hair in order to return to school, because he gets, ‘good grades’ and he’s, ‘never been in trouble’

‘Every day I would go to school I would always be in dress code. But the thing with them is, if it was let down, I would be out of dress code,’ Arnold said.

He said he would usually wear his dreadlocks up, but if the hair would be, ‘in your face, past your ears, or touching your collar’ it would be considered a dress code violation.

Ellen asked if there were girls in his school with long hair and Arnold said, ‘There are plenty of girls at my school with long hair.’

Out of code: 'Every day I would go to school I would always be in dress code. But the thing with them is, if it was let down, I would be out of dress code,' Arnold said

Out of code: ‘Every day I would go to school I would always be in dress code. But the thing with them is, if it was let down, I would be out of dress code,’ Arnold said

He added, ‘Like if girls have long hair why can’t I have long hair?’ which lead to Ellen’s studio audience to applaud.

Arnold said that his hair is ‘really important to me because my dad is from Trinidad. And it’s really part of our culture and heritage. And I really wish the school would kind of be open to other cultures and at least let us try to tell you some things. Don’t just shut us out.

Ellen added that school is ‘supposed to teach you about other cultures, you’re not supposed to teach them,’ as DeAndre explained what happened if he went back to school tomorrow without cutting his hair.

Why not: He added, 'Like if girls have long hair why can't I have long hair?' which lead to Ellen's studio audience to applaud

Why not: He added, ‘Like if girls have long hair why can’t I have long hair?’ which lead to Ellen’s studio audience to applaud

‘If I go back to school tomorrow, my only options are in-school suspension or alternative school,’ which Arnold explained is for kids who, ‘have behavioral issues, sell drugs, fight all the time’ are sent.

‘Like, I wish the best for them, and I know they have good qualities in them, but I don’t deserve to be grouped with them,’ Arnold eloquently said, adding that they won’t let him walk in graduation with his hair as is.

‘I worked for this all my life. I’ve strived for this. I deserve this moment to walk across that stage and enter into life. My parents deserve this,’ he said. 

Arnold added that he wants to go to school to become a veterinarian because, ‘I’ve always loved animals, everything about animals, just their sense of loyalty, companionship, you can’t get that anywhere else.’

Options: 'If I go back to school tomorrow, my only options are in-school suspension or alternative school,' which Arnold explained is for kids who, 'have behavioral issues, sell drugs, fight all the time' are sent

Options: ‘If I go back to school tomorrow, my only options are in-school suspension or alternative school,’ which Arnold explained is for kids who, ‘have behavioral issues, sell drugs, fight all the time’ are sent

Ellen noted that you have to go to more school to be a vet than you do to become a doctor, before making a passionate plea to Arnold’s school.

‘I am begging you… this kid is a good kid. He deserves to graduate, to walk with all the other kids. He’s a good guy. I just am urging you to do the right thing,’ Ellen said.

Ellen added that she thinks, while this has been a hassle for him, it could be an ‘eye-opener’ for the school, before bringing out her surprise guest, Alicia Keys.

Keys said she was ‘so happy to surprise you’ and she ‘couldn’t believe the story when I heard it. I’m super proud of you for standing up for what you know is right.’

She added that her and Ellen called their friends at Shutterfly and they wanted to support and invest in his ‘greatness’ with a check for $20,000 for his schooling.

Arnold has also gotten support from other celebrities such as Houston Texans football player Deandre Hopkins, who tweeted last week, ‘Never cut your locks Deandre Arnold.’ 

Surprise guest: Ellen added that she thinks, while this has been a hassle for him, it could be an 'eye-opener' for the school, before bringing out her surprise guest, Alicia Keys

Surprise guest: Ellen added that she thinks, while this has been a hassle for him, it could be an ‘eye-opener’ for the school, before bringing out her surprise guest, Alicia Keys

Support: Arnold has also gotten support from other celebrities such as Houston Texans football player Deandre Hopkins, who tweeted last week, 'Never cut your locks Deandre Arnold'

Support: Arnold has also gotten support from other celebrities such as Houston Texans football player Deandre Hopkins, who tweeted last week, ‘Never cut your locks Deandre Arnold’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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