African-American girl faces expulsion over her natural hair
An African-American girl could face expulsion after school officials said her natural hairstyle was a violation of student conduct policies.
Vanessa VanDyke, a 12-year-old who attends Faith Christian Academy in Orlando, Fla., has reportedly been asked by school officials to cut or straighten her hair or she would be forced to leave the school.
“It says that I’m unique,” VanDyke told the local news station WKMG. “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.”
VanDyke’s mother, Sabrina Kent said that she has been wearing her hair in its natural state since the beginning of the school year.
However, Kent says school officials were not concerned with her daughter’s hairstyle until she complained about her being bullied at school.
“There have been people teasing her about her hair, and it seems to me that they’re blaming her,” Kent said.
Now, the school has ruled VanDyke’s hair as a “distraction” and have advised her to change it before subsequent actions are taken.
“They just said you should change your hair, you should straighten it, it’s too puffy,” VanDyke said.
The school has yet to make any official statements.
“I’m going to fight for my daughter,” Kent said. “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.”
This is the second time this year in which an African-American student’s natural hairdo has been the center of criticism.
The parents of 7-year-old Tiana Parker of Tulsa, Oklahoma withdrew her from Deborah Brown Community School in September after school officials found her dreadlocks to be “unacceptable.”
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