A Louisiana high school valedictorian was told he could not participate in his school’s graduation ceremony because his beard violated dress code.
Amite High School senior and valedictorian Andrew Jones talked to local news outlet WWL about being denied to take part in his graduation.
In his interview, Jones told WWL that school officials asked him to shave his beard, and when he did not comply they took his gown.
“Eventually they took my gown,” Jones told the reporter, “They told me they had to take my gown from me.”
According to the school district’s dress code, no male student is allowed to have facial hair. WWL reports that the school district superintendent said Jones and his family were notified about the rule three times. In fact, he was one of 13 graduating seniors to be reminded. Jones was the only one to refuse their offer to shave and graduate.
“It don’t make sense. Every day of school I went with it, even more, I did shave,” said Jones, “I had like sides and everything, but I shaved that for graduation.”
His aunt, Sabrina Davis, was flabbergasted.
“What was the real issue that he couldn’t walk with his class? He was top of his class, you know, that moment was the most important moment of his life.” Davis goes on to praise her nephew’s many achievements. “For a young man that talented, and very academic, to hold a 4.0 and still manage to be a father to his child, the sky’s the limit to me.”
The situation was not resolved, but he hopes others will not have to deal with this.
Jones will attend Southeastern Louisiana University with three different scholarships, including an academic scholarship, an athletic scholarship and a spot on the football team.
16 thoughts on “This Valedictorian Showed Up for Graduation But Was Turned Away for This Absurd Reason”
Is this a private or public school? No public school should have this kind of power over the physial appearance of its' students. Trying to get all the young men to look like girly-men with no facial hair.
I think at the end of the school year that this denial of his graduation was bad and the wrong policy enforcement at the wrong time.. ,HOWEVER there was a Dress code in place and all of the students were apparently following it.It is wrong that on the last day of school that this should become an issue ,BUT the school system is allowed to write laws it needs and to have the cooperation of students and their parents in discipline and in following the rules ..Period..
It appears to be a public school. And, yes, it's ridiculous. Especially because the rule doesn't seem to have been enforced until graduation.
If he can prove that he and others wore the beard year round only to be demanded to stop at he end…..the rules need to be changed. Not walking the stage doesn't stop your accomplishments.
"For a young man that talented, and very academic, to hold a 4.0 and still manage to be a father to his child, the sky’s the limit to me.”
When I s his picture I thought he was a Cherokee indian! When are we all going to become AMERICANS?
Was he allowed to wear it during school? How about rewarding someone for what they spents years working towards and not worry about what is growing on a mans face since the beginning of time.WTF get real people,this world is getting so stupid I am so glad I am 55 and only have less years to live on this planet!!
That has nothing whatsoever to do with this issue. Although I do not agree with their decison, he was warned previously. He made the choice to not comply and welcome to the real world! Their were repercussions. However, this had nothing to do with comparisons on what females are allowed to wear. It shows a lack of focus on the part of some of us. Tired of folks losing focus and bringing in the kitchen sink. College people should know better. You don't get a grade for a paper or essay in which there is a spefic topic or expection as per thesis statment for going over to some other topic having nothing to do with what promised it would pertain to in the first paragraph. Why do people do it on social media? To coin a profound reply, "common sense is a rare commodity." I totally agree.
First of all, they were Cherokee, not Indians, as they were here and not in India. It is an insult. Secondly, since Native Americans ARE the original AMERICANS someone missed that fact in school didn't we? Thirdly, this was not about his right as a FREE American, albeit still on the fringes of adulthood to wear his beard, accept his position as Valedictorian and inspire those of his generation by his speech. This was not about some sad indication of a clueless racist who probably will vote for Trump and further submerge AMERICA into the land not only did time lose, but common sense and intellect went hand and has as not to be further embarrassed. Reading is still fundamental, knowing the history of AMERICA before trying to rewrite it, or ignore it or simply add some foreign spin is indicative of the downfall of AMERICA.
Aissatou Sunjata FREE Americans are REQUIRED to follow LAWS and RULES!!!! AFRICAN American's are NOT exempt or ENTITLED to DIFFERENT treatment!
Aissatou Sunjata What I am saying is they worry about facial hair, yet allow girls to expose themselves—double standards. And, if he was allowed to keep a goatee all school year, why suddenly have to shave it off? That too is a double standard.
What gets me about this is, he obviously was allowed to participate in sports. If it wasthat important to the school, why was he allowed to participate in sports during his time there. I guess any games he might of helped them win, was well worth looking the other way for. They chose to enforce it when it came time to graduate. I think he was right for not volunteering to shave it off. If a school is going to have a policy in place, it needs to be year round and no exceptions!
Marla Joy Matthews
Going to put my 2 cents in if we are going there. When my daughter was in high school I got at least 3 calls asking me to bring her clothers because she wasn't following the dress code. I told them I saw what she was wearing and also see what the other girls where wearing and felt she was acceptable compared to what I saw on campus. After one episode I was leaving campus and a young girl entered the campus in a very short dress carrying a gift that was for a baby shower. So, I guess its acceptable to let someone have a baby shower on campus but not wear a pair of cut off jean shorts.
I believe in the article it said he shaved every day for school but didn't feel he should have to for graduation. While I don't agree with the rule he was basically thumbing his nose at authority. So I guess he'll know better next time.
Read the article–he shaved for graduation, not every day for school.
I feel badly for him, but if he was reminded THREE times about the school policy, he should have shaved. The beard will grow back. If he had NEVER been told about the policy, then that would be a different sorry. Every student and their parents are given the rules each year. It's called the Student Handbook. His parents knew the rules and should have taught him to follow them. If he had the beard his four years of high school, knowing the rules, then he broke them. He is a bright young man and smart enough to have learned those rules. Why risk not being able to march because of a beard? He was wrong for not shaving. Rules are rules. If you can't follow rules, you pay the price. Just as in life, there are rules. This is a heartbreaking outcome for him, but hopefully one that will teach him that from here on out, he will need to obey the written rules.
this is a very sad story for so many reason's as other's who are chiming in on this topic has said it is a silly rule but rules are rules I wish his parents would have advised him to shave it maybe they did & he chose not to but being chosen for "Valedictorian" is huge what a legecy to have for your child & future children you may have so what do you tell them "I was chosen for valedictorian but because I did'nt follow a rule that say's you have to have a completly clean shave I chose to disregard that rule I did not shave my go-tee so I did'nt get my cap & gown" In the grand scheme of things facial hair does grow back it's jacked up that they allowed him to play sport's with a go-tee, but we do have to agree he got a sport's scholarship from it just saying maybe this was suppose to happen so other futher grad's know what not to do….this story reminds me of something that happen with a very close friend of mine her son played baskettball all through high school going to his games was almost their whole life they wanted him to a get a scholarship out of the deal their son had very long braids they made him cut them because sport's scout's were coming to his games long story short the knew that because he was a young black male they knew that braids could hender his chances he got them cut he ended up getting a scholarship got to play oversees now he's grown with a good paying job the moral to this story we as black people have to remember you do what you have to do until you get what you want…I would have strongly atvised my child to shave that's just my 2cent…