School to girl: Change your hair or leave

Vanessa VanDyke, left, said the other students tease her about her hair, but she would rather leave the school than change it.

WKMG

Vanessa VanDyke, left, says other students tease her about her hair, but she would rather leave the school than change it.

A 12-year-old girl may face expulsion because of the way she wears her hair.

Vanessa VanDyke said officials at Faith Christian Academy in Orlando, Fla., told her she will have to leave the school if she doesn’t trim and shape her natural hair, WKMG reported.

She has a week to make her decision.

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Vanessa and her mom told the station that her hair is part of her identity and they don’t plan to straighten or restyle it.

Faith Christian Academy in Orlando, Fla., does not allow students to have hair that is a ‘distraction.’

WKMG

Faith Christian Academy in Orlando, Fla., does not allow students to have hair that is a ‘distraction.’

“It says that I’m unique,” Vanessa said. “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.”

Vanessa has attended Faith Christian Academy since third grade, and she has worn her hair the same way since the beginning of the year. There wasn’t an issue until her family approached administrators because the girl was being teased about her hair.

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The private school has yet to comment on the matter, but its student handbook says, “Hair must be a natural color and must not be a distraction.”

The dress code gives mohawks, rat tails and shaved designs as examples of what’s not acceptable.

‘If she wants her hair like that, she will keep her hair like that,’ said Vanessa VanDyke’s mom, Sabrina Kent.

WKMG

‘If she wants her hair like that, she will keep her hair like that,’ said Vanessa VanDyke’s mom, Sabrina Kent.

“A distraction to one person is not a distraction to another,” Sabrina Kent, Vanessa’s mom, told WKMG. “You can have a kid come in with pimples on his face. Are you going to call that a distraction?”

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Kent also said she would fight for her 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.”

vtaylor@nydailynews.com

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Lifestyle – NY Daily News

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