School to black girl: Cut your hair or face expulsion

School to black girl: Cut your hair or face expulsion
One day after a 12-year-old African American girl made national news for saying she was threatened with expulsion over her hairstyle, the school is backing down.

On Monday, Vanessa VanDyke said that Faith Christian Academy, a private school in Orlando, Florida, had given her a choice: either cut/style her large, naturally curly hair within a week or leave the school altogether.

VanDyke and her mother, Sabrina Kent, told Local10.com they do not plan to change the young girl’s hairstyle, which has become part of her identity. The seventh grader added that her hair has been styled this way for the entire year, and school officials only took issue with it after the family complained about students bullying her about it.

“It says that I’m unique,” VanDyke said, according to Local10.com. “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.”

According to the dress code at Faith Christian Academy, “Hair must be a natural color and must not be a distraction." The dress code bans hairstyles such as mohawks and shaved designs, but doesn’t limit itself to these examples.

"A distraction to one person is not a distraction to another," Kent said to WKMG 6 News. "You can have a kid come in with pimples on his face. Are you going to call that a distraction?"

"I'm going to fight for my daughter," Kent continued. "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."

In a statement released to WKMG, school officials said VanDyke won’t be expelled, and that they will be talking to the student and her mother about the situation over Thanksgiving break.

"We're not asking her to put products in her hair or cut her hair,” the statement noted. “We're asking her to style her hair within the guidelines according to the school handbook."