Wait, no beach balls? Student brings snake inside TSU graduation

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Danielle Motley noticed something unusual at Texas Southern University's graduation Saturday, and it was wrapped around one of the graduate's arm.

"I think Al Green was still up giving his speech and we were like 'that's a snake right there,'" Motley said. "He touched it, he pet it and we realized it was real then."

She said the snake was the talk of her section, but eventually they let it go, but not before snapping a few pictures.

"Everybody was like meh, no use freaking out. We were packed in there like sardines at this graduation, so there was nowhere to run," she said.

The young man in those pictures is Denzel Young. He said the 3-year-old ball python is his pet, and that the snake takes him away from everything.

"When I did have my ups and downs with school, just having her around makes me feel the positivity," said Young.

Young said everyone knew him on campus as the guy who always brought his snake, Persia, around.

"I told everybody this is my graduation, so I'm going to do what I want to do. So I'm going to bring it and that's what I ended up doing," he said.

The university says only service animals are allowed at graduation and that there's no need to change the rules because Young must have had it under his gown and slipped past graduation officials.

"I really didn't try to hide it," Young said. "I just had it under my wrist. But you know the gown is kind of long so people technically didn't see it unless I lifted up my sleeve for them to see it."

Some said it was inappropriate.

"To each his own, but to me it was no big deal," he said.

Young told Eyewitness News he handed the snake off to his little brother right before his school was up to walk across the stage, so he didn't have it when he actually received his diploma.

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