An African-American student at a private Christian school has been told that she must cut her natural hair or face expulsion.
Twelve year-old Vanessa VanDyke was told by the administrators at the Faith Christian Academy in Orlando, Florida that she had one week to bring her hair into line with the school’s dress-code or will be forced to leave the school she has attended since the third-grade. Her hair has been the same since she started.
Disgracefully, VanDyke’s hair only became an issue after her parents complained to the school that it was the source of teasing by other students. The school’s response was that VanDyke should conform to the dress-code which says that hair must be natural, as VanDyke’s hair is, she and her mother are quick to point out.
In the face of possible expulsion, VanDyke has been defiant and says she has no plans to cut her hair:
“It says that I’m unique. First of all, it’s puffy and I like it that way. I know people will tease me about it because it’s not straight. I don’t fit in,” she said.
Her mother, Sabrina Kent, has been equally stoic in defense of her daughter’s right to self-expression:
“I’m going to fight for my daughter. If she wants her hair like that, she will keep her hair like that. There are people out there who may think that natural hair is not appropriate. She is beautiful the way she is.”
VanDyke has impressively resigned herself to the consequences of her fight, but speaks with a clarity and maturity beyond her twelve years:
“I’m depressed about leaving my friends and people that I’ve known for a while, but I’d rather have that than the principals and administrators picking on me and saying that I should change my hair.”
The school was contacted over the case, but has not answered any direct questions about the incident.
Watch a local news report on the story below: