girl expelled for natural hair

African American Girl Faces Expulsion From School Over Natural Hair

girl expelled for natural hair

You know what never seems to amaze me? How people always claim that “it’s just hair” but i constantly run across stories like these that reinforce the fact that it’s not just hair. Vanessa VanDyke has been going to this school all of her life and now they are telling her, she can’t wear her hair “a certain way” there. She either cuts it and shapes it or she is getting expelled from the school. More and more stories such as these are popping up. It really makes me wonder how many MORE incidents happen on a daily basis that don’t reach the masses. SMH. She is a very pretty little girl.

An African-American teen told Local 6 she faces expulsion because administrators at her private school want her to cut and shape her hair.

Vanessa VanDyke said she was given one week to decide to whether cut her hair or leave Faith Christian Academy in Orlando, a school she’s been going to since the third grade.

But for now, she and her mother do not plan to change her hair because it is part of the 12-year-old’s identity. But her natural hair style comes with a cost.

“It says that I’m unique,” said VanDyke. “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 said that first the teasing from other students, but now, school leaders seem to be singling her out for her appearance.

Faith Christian Academy has a dress code and rules against how students can wear their hair. The student handbook reads: “Hair must be a natural color and must not be a distraction,” and goes on to state examples that include, but are not limited to, mohawks, shaved designs and rat tails.

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

VanDyke said she’s had her large, natural hair all year long, but it only became an issue after the family complained about students teasing her about her hair.

“There have been bullies in the school,” said Kent. “There have been people teasing her about her hair, and it seems to me that they’re blaming her.”

“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,” said VanDyke.

“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.”

School administrators responded to an email asking about the issue, but did not provide any answers to questions.

This is the school, Faith Christian Academy, facebook page:

I already see tons of angry comments from people. This is 2013. You cannot do things like this and not expect backlash ESPECIALLY when your plastered ALL OVER THE INTERNET!

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below



Administrators at Faith Christian Academy now say they are not requiring one of their students to cut her hair in order to continue attending, but they are asking her to style it differently.

[UPDATE: Family releases statement]

Last week, a school adviser asked Vanessa Van Dyke’s mother to either straighten or cut her daughter’s hair or risk expulsion.

“African American hair grows out,” mother Sabrina Kent said.  “It doesn’t grow down.  Her hair is her hair.  What am I supposed to do?”

Vanessa admits her hair is very big compared to other students at her school.

“It’s puffy, and I know people will make fun of me, because it’s not straight,” she said.  “I don’t fit in.”

Vanessa said she doesn’t want to cut her hair and doesn’t want to straighten it, either.  At the same time, she also doesn’t want to leave her classroom at Faith Christian Academy and her friends.

After Local 6’s original story aired, school administrators changed their requests of Vanessa and her family.

“We are not asking her to put products in her hair or to cut her hair,” read a statement sent to Local 6.  “We are asking her to style her hair within the guidelines according to the school handbook.”

The handbook does not cite large or frizzy hair, noting only, “Mohawks, shaved signs, rat tails, etc.”

Kent said she and Vanessa are going to talk about their options over Thanksgiving. SOURCE

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  1. R LongPig says:

    I’m glad this little girl is self aware enough to stand up for her rights from the eurocentric values she will experience all her life. Fight fight fight!

  2. Funkystarkitty50 says:

    This is crazy!! How is her natural hair a distraction? This is a direct attack on those of us who want to be ourselves the way WE want to be. There is nothing wrong with that little girl’s hair. The mindset needs to change, not her hair style. It’s sad that there is so much intolerance over hair of all things..**SMH**

  3. RACIST PRICKS! WAKE UP BLACK PEOPLE! Racism is alive and well in America

    1. It isn’t racist to try and control what someone else does with their hair. It’s just stupid.

  4. So, if some redhead comes to school and I find it distracting, will he be expelled. Also, there better not be one bottled blond in the house, no one coloring gray hair, no one dieting…

  5. A. Westbrook says:

    This doesn’t make any sense this is a form of discrimination and the school should be standing up for this child not singling her out it’s about to be 2014 and we still haven’t made it that much further since 1964 smh a crime and a shame.

    1. Dezi Tuesday e. says:

      Im a half black girl living in Indiana and went to a majority white high school. They don’t celebratre black history month there so I decided to put a poster on my locker one year. It was up for about 2 hours before I realized people had been writing nigger all over it. One of my friends turned it into the office and told the principal that she overheard some of the football players bragging about it. I got called down to the office and told that it was my fault for putting the poster up and I needed to stop blowing this situation out of proportion. It pretty much depends on who you are. At my high school if you were an athlete, you could do whatever you wanted when you wanted.

    2. “we still haven’t made it that much further since 1964” That’s ridiculous and you must not have been around in 1964 if you really believe that.

  6. Telling black women/girls how to wear our hair is the new face of racism. Women/girls must conform to “their” idea of what we, black women should look like. Racism hasn’t gone any where, It never went away. It just changed tactics.

  7. ottofromdurham says:

    A-holes in a lot of schools are inadequate dealing with bullies (because they are lazy). It is gross that they would hurt this beautiful girl’s spirit and imply there is something wrong with her being herself. I hope these jerks get sued good and if they fall under a governing agency I hope they get skewered. The world can be a hard enough place without an environment that should be safe being venomous. Do they not value the nurturing function they should have?

  8. This is crazy. She has a right to wear her hair how she likes it. Please fight for your daughter rights. They have no right to even go there with that.

  9. When black women (and girls) wear our natural hair,
    some see that as embracing ourselves instead of being pathetic
    imitations of white females — and I say pathetic, not as a judgment,
    but that’s the way I believe they see us. And as long as we’re
    self-loathing, we can be manipulated and exploited, which aids the
    system of white supremacy. This little girl is so beautiful that I think
    the school officials were concerned about the inferiority complex she
    might evoke in her white classmates.

  10. Also, I’d like to recommend a book that explains why black females wearing their natural hair are seen as a threat to the “unnatural” order. It’s called, “The Beauty Con Game” by Umoja, and you can find it at Trojan Horse Press

  11. Please don’t change. There are people with all kinds of hair. Accept it

  12. I had this same issue with my daughter’s natural hair from two schools in Nairobi, Kenya. My daughter has beautiful well maintained neat locks. The first school I pulled her out after an exchange of some home truths to them. The second school I took a human rights angle and challenged them. They told me to my face they didn’t mind the kids walking around with fake braids and weaves down their back but my daughter’s natural hair was a problem for them and these are black people by the way. In fact the complainant is a man who himself was wearing natural hair.So I challenged him because he was violating my child’s rights by dictating his own standard of beauty to her. Furthermore I challenged him on principle in that he was not a person of good character as he whom I was trusting to instill self acceptance and self love to my child as an extension of the values I have taught her was now reversing those values of self acceptance and self love to teach self hatred. I refused to remove my child and told them if they touched my child’s hair I would sue them from here to eternity and make history in Kenya because I would win and I would not be quiet about it. It died there!

  13. Look, y’all: I’m Nigerian and went to primary (elementary) school and secondary (middle/high) school in Nigeria. As almost every African will tell you, had/have rules for assistance that were/are a lot stricter than the school under attack. Many schools even required girls to wear their hair short, all cut off, but most (like my schools) required girls to keep their hair in a minimum number of plaits. Yes, hair is distracting when it’s unusual and kids are in school to learn, not get distracted.

    The issue here is discipline. Wearing uniforms and wearing your hair in a modest style instill discipline in children. Go crazy on the weekend or during vacation, but allow the school to do the thing for which you send your kids to them: educate your kids. Parents like this girl’s who are “fighting” for their kids’ “right” to look however they want are sending the wrong message to their kids: you can do whatever the hell you want and ignore rules. While that lesson has its place, it’s the wrong lesson here.

    I’ve come across a number of stories where a school was being discriminatory in their treatment of black kids with natural hair, but (based on their statement) this school has done nothing wrong.

  14. april houston says:

    When braids became popular our high school basketball coach would not allow the boys to wear them and he is black. This girl was wearing her hair natural the way she was born and this needs to be put in the rules as the correct way to wear your hair, however you were born.

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