Faith Christian Academy in Orlando, Florida, has forced 12-year-old Vanessa Van Dyke, a Black student who rocks a mane of natural hair, to either straighten her hair or cut it off — or be expelled.
The school claims her hairstyle is in violation of the school dress code, which says, “Hair must be a natural color and must not be a distraction.” It gives examples of inappropriate hair such as rat tails, mohawks and shaved designs. The “distraction” is apparently Vanessa’s complaint to grownups at the school that she was been teased over her hair.
The school Vanessa has attended since 3rd grade gave her one week to decide whether to leave school or change her hairstyle, which she loves. ”It says that I’m unique,” said Vanessa. “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.”
“It seems to me that they’re blaming her. … A distraction to one person is not a distraction to another,” Vanessa’s mother Sabrina Kent pointed out to Local 6 news. “You can have a kid come in with pimples on his face. Are you going to call that a distraction?”
Kent is standing by her daughter in this racist, victim-blaming absurdity. ”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.”