An Orlando private school is threatening to expel a student if she does not cut and shape her natural hair. Faith Christian Academy is a PreK-12th grade private school located in Orlando, Florida. 12-year-old Vanessa VanDyke has been a student at the school since 3rd grade. School administrators have given her one week to comply, or she will be dismissed from the school indefinitely.
According to the school’s dress code in the student handbook, “Hair must be a natural color and must not be a distraction.” Vanessa wears her hair in a fro, which has caused some students to tease her. “First of all, it’s puffy and I like it that way,” Vanessa says about her hairstyle. “I know people will tease me about it because it’s not straight. I don’t fit in.”
The school seems to be considering her hair a distraction after the family reported that Vanessa was being teased for her hair. Sabrina Kent, Vanessa’s mother, told WKMG,
“A distraction to one person is not a distraction to another. You can have a kid come in with pimples on his face. Are you going to call that a distraction?”
“There have been bullies in the school. There have been people teasing her about her hair, and it seems to me that they’re blaming her.”
School officials have not responded to questions surrounding the incident. Vanessa has decided she will keep her hair the way it is, saying, “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.”