Louisiana school district stripped Amite High School valedictorian Andrew Jones of his cap and gown on graduation day because he declined to shave off his facial hair, WWL-TV reports.
The superintendent said the school district has a longstanding facial hair ban, and 14 graduates, including Jones, were reminded of the policy before graduation day.
Jones was the only graduating student who refused to comply. He told the news station the ban “didn’t make sense,” because students were permitted to have facial hair throughout the school year.
WWL-TV found two pictures of Jones wearing a beard this school year—on campus and at the school board office.
The station pressed the superintendent for answers. He told WWL-TV that Amite’s principal was not available, but the situation urged him to talk to school administrators about enforcing the policy going forward.
Meanwhile, Jones’ aunt Sabrina Davis has suspicions about what motivated the sudden graduation day enforcement.
“What was the real issue that he couldn’t walk with his class?” a frustrated Davis asked WWL-TV. “He was top of his class, you know, that moment was the most important moment of his life.”
“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,” Davis said of her nephew.
At this point, Jones said he’s ready to move forward. He has academic and athletic scholarships to Saint Louis University, where he has a place on the football team.
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