Needville's Needless Behavior

The school board decided this week that a 5-year-old boy cannot go to school with long hair. Adriel Arocha has never cut his hair. His mother puts his hair in braids every morning, but now his two braids are the center of a controversy.


The Needville School Board held a public hearing on whether to allow Adriel to keep his long hair despite their dress code rules that specify boys cannot have hair below the collar. Adriel's father said his hair is part of their Native American heritage.


"It's our ancestry. It shows where we came from; it's wisdom and strength," said Kenney Arocha. 

"I'm just afraid if the district gives in, other problems will occur in the future," said Shelly Sullivan, a former Needville student. The superintendent said he had already denied any changes, but on different grounds. "The child is not enrolled, not a student," said Superintendent Curtis Rhodes. 


The family, however, have said they're moving into a house inside the district in a few weeks and the district will have to deal with Adriel's hair eventually.


"I really wasn't surprised. I knew they would say no," said Michelle Betenbaugh, Adriel's mother.


She said they still plan to enroll Adriel in school and will bring him to kindergarten his first day with long hair. She said if they're sent home, they'll try again the next day.


RantLori Freese