School says Cut Natural Hair or Be Expelled, Mom and Daughter Don’t Fold

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teen cut your hair or be expelled

by Barry Burch Jr.

Rather than promote free-thinking, the mantra at schools across the nation, public or private is: Conform or Leave.

A teenager in Orlando has received the message quite loudly.  She has a week to determine if she is willing to cut and shape her hair or be expelled.

The young lady’s name is Vanessa Vandyke and she currently attends Faith Christian Academy.  The same school she has attended since she was in the 3rd grade.

However, her future there is unclear.  Right now, she and her mother are refusing to change the hair because they see it as part of who Vanessa is as a person.

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

Despite teasing from classmates, Vanessa has vowed to stay true to her identity.  But unfortunately, her classmates are not the extent of the problem.  The teen claims that officials at the school are now taking part in singling her out based on her appearance.

There is a dress code at the Academy, but nothing specifically addressing Vanessa’s natural hairstyle.  The student handbook reads, “Hair must be a natural color and must not be a distraction,” and goes on to include examples like mohawks, shaved designs and rat tails.

Vanessa’s mother, Sabrina Kent, is not tolerating the claims that her daughter’s hair is a distraction worthy of barring from the school.  “A distraction to one person is not a distraction to another,” she said.  “You can have a kid come in with pimples on his face.  Are you going to call that a distraction?”

Well is that kid Black (I digress)?

Vanessa has worn her natural hair all year, but after the family complained about other children at the school making fun of it, the school decided to order that she make a change.

“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.”

Vanessa is saddened that she may have to leave her school, but has had enough from school officials.   “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,” she said.

“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.”

Barry is a scholar, who enjoys writing, arithmetic and politics.  Reach him @