Andrew Jones graduated at the top of his class, but his Louisiana high school prevented him from participating in his graduation because of a rule about facial hair, despite the fact that the rule had never been enforced before.
After Jones and 13 others arrived at the graduation ceremony for Amite High School on Wednesday night, they were all told that they would have to shave because their facial hair violated school rules. However, Jones refused to shave because the rule had never been enforced before, and he had been able to wear his beard for four years while he attended the school.
Because of his refusal, he was prevented from taking part in the graduation, and his cap and gown were removed.
Tangipahoa Schools Superintendent Mark Kolwe said that Jones had been warned multiple times about the policy and that he had even personally appealed to Jones but that the young man still refused to shave. The NAACP’s Tangipahoa Parish chapter president Patricia Morris said that the situation was “just wrong.”
Jones said that although he was aware that this was a once-in-a-lifetime event and that he will not be able to redo his graduation, he stands by his decision not to shave.