African-American Girl Faces Expulsion for Her Natural Hair (VIDEO)

Heartbreaking 26

Vanessa VanDyke

Ugh. I H-A-T-E hearing stuff like this. A 12-year-old African-American girl may be expelled from school if she does not cut her hair, which she chooses to wear in a natural style as opposed to straightening it.

Vanessa VanDyke attends Faith Christian Academy in Orlando. The officials at the school have given her one week to either cut and shape her hair or they will kick her out of school. Yes ... for reals.

Did I mention that she's attended this school since she was in the third grade -- and her hair has only recently become an issue?

Yeah, well just wait until you hear what started this whole mess.

According to Vanessa, students started teasing her about her "puffy" hair, so her family complained to the school. And then all of a sudden, she's now in violation of the dress code -- and her hair is considered a "distraction" to other students.

Take a look at this video to hear more of the story.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Um, I'm sorry -- but I just don't see anything wrong with how this beautiful, smart, mature little girl wears her hair. Sure, it's a little "bigger" than most girls her age, but would I go so far as to view it as a distraction? No way. I actually think the style looks really cute on her -- especially with that sweet yellow bow tucked into one side of her hair.

More from The Stir: Dad Pulls 7-Year-Old Out of School Because They Don't Approve of Her Hair (VIDEO)

And doesn't the fact that Vanessa is an honors student mean anything to the administrators at her school? She obviously cares a great deal about her education, so why do they feel it necessary to take that away from her simply because they don't like her hair?!?

I also feel so bad for her mother, because the last thing any parent wants is to see her child ridiculed for the way she looks. She's absolutely doing the right thing by standing up for Vanessa and allowing her to keep her hair the way it is instead of giving in to the school's wishes. 

And even if she does choose to cut it to conform to their standards -- the damage is already done. How is she supposed to be happy and thrive in a school that places so much emphasis on her appearance?

This is just sad. It would be different if her locks were neon yellow or worn in a mohawk or something like that -- but this is her natural hair.

But maybe this is a blessing in disguise, and Vanessa will wind up in another school that is more accepting of her. One thing's for sure, if she leaves, it will be Faith Christian Academy's loss ... not hers.

Whose side are you on -- the school's or Vanessa's?


Image via clickorlando

bullies, education, hair


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.


I am all for natural hair in the African American community.  I wear my hair natural.  And I love how healthy her hair looks and the fact that she proudly wears the hair she was born with instead of using chemicals and whatnot to style her hair.  However, if I was sitting behind her in class, I would be extremely irritated because I wouldn't be able to see anything.  And that goes for ALL BIG hair wearers regardless of your ethnicity.

miche... micheledo

If this is true - that it was ONLY an issue after complaining about bullying - then the school has no ground to stand on.

Really, the only issue I see with this is how 'big' it is.  If another student can't see the board because of her hair.  Or if she is teasing it to make it super big.  White girls could do that - with a whole bottle of hairspray.  Ha ha.  But if it is completey naturally this big - I think the school should work out a compromise.  Move her to the back of the class if students can't see.

Natural hair is NOT the same as a mohawk.  

nonmember avatar Simplicity

Ugh.. I think her mom is doing this for attention. She can wear her hair natural without making it so puffy that it becomes a distraction. My biracial daughter's hair is natural and if I were to brush it while dry it would be 4 times bigger than the girl In the photo. I don't straighten or chemically alter her hair. I brush it and style it in a ponytail and off she goes! This little girl's mom needs to realize that her daughter's hair is way too big.

Jespren Jespren

Well, I in general agree with the parents, but I think they are doing a huge diservice by pretending this is about her wearing her hair 'naturally'. This is a style, a style which can be achieved through careful grooming but without much, if any, product. But it's still a style choice and is no more or less 'natural' than if she wore it shorter or longer, combed it while wet to make it into individual spirals, braided it, twisted it, or let it go into natural dreds. Most people worldwide who have this type of hair don't wear it like that, it's cut, shaped, braided, plaited, or otherwise 'contained' because it is actually difficult to go about the world with hair like that, it gets caught in things, picks up lots of dirt and debris, and does provide a distraction and block to those around you. That doesn't make the school right to demand she cut it if they had no problems with it when they accepted her as a student, but it does make the parents look like race baiters, when race probably have zero to do with it.

nonmember avatar April

I don't care what style she has it in, if it only became a problem AFTER they complained about bullies, that means the administrators of the school, instead of addressing the nasty little children picking on her, chose to pick on the victim instead. Classy and real Christian like. I don't care what color the girl is, if my child were being picked on, and I complained, and suddenly *MY* child had to change (whatever, hair, clothes,etc) that was previously ok with the school? Yeah, I'd be complaining too

Choco... Chocodoxies

Who the fück gets to decide what is "too big"?  I think this is blatant racism. Vanessa looks like a perfectly adorable little girl. The fact that her parents took the teasing to the school officials and they in turn told her to "calm her hair" or the would kick her out absolutely disgusts me. Essentially what they are saying is, "Your natural hair bothers me. Make it look more white". 

This girls mother is a FANTASTIC mother! She is teaching her daughter to BE PROUD of who she. To teach your child that they are beautiful just as they are is something we have been stressing since Sesame Street, but then a child hits 12 and it's "your hair is too big, make it more caucasian". Please. She is smart, beautiful, talented, and strong. 

nonmember avatar Kmomma

Both sides are wrong.
*The school should have followed their own rule book at the beginning of the school year. Instead they waited until it blew up and maybe hoped that the bullying would do their work for them. No one really knows word for word what the teasing was about. Did classmates started throwing stuff at her hair to see if it sticks? Could it be the person behind maybe people around her got sick of not being able see anything from that big hair. If they did place her in the back row it would end up being the same. Was she told to scale it back before and just didn't listen. Honor roll or not a lot of kids like seeing far they can push things. Did she just have a nasty teacher who set it all up just because? -I had nasty teacher who picked on students at random to just to relax.
*Just from the video it looks like was styled to be that big. 3x bigger than your head and leaving the house after styling isn't natural it's a choice. Was this a everyday style? Why couldn't the family just follow the school rules without being told? Questions ask just in case have a signed approval. It's a style she likes. I do think it matches her but the style seems more like fun free time hair style vs. School hair style. She could have pulled back her hair into puffs or ponytail. Her mother comparing pimples to hair style was just wrong. Hair is something that can be controlled vs skin without harsh chemicals it just take time.

MamaY... MamaYankee

Funny, people are blaming the parents. But if it were a male child Dressed as a female, people would be enraged at the school. She should not have to tame what naturally grew out of her head.

MamaY... MamaYankee

Funny, people are blaming the parents. But if it were a male child Dressed as a female, people would be enraged at the school. She should not have to tame what naturally grew out of her head.

nonmember avatar Kate

Unfortunately, it's a private school. They get to decide what's OK and what's not, dress-code wise. If they tell you your hairstyle is distracting... hey, it's their school. Of course, I went to school in the 80s and this isn't even close to "Big Hair" in my head.

On the other hand... boo on the school for doing their usual stellar job of handling bullies - blame the victim. This is why kids don't turn bullies in - schools don't want to deal with it so they invent something else to worry about.

1-10 of 26 comments 123 Last