Twelve-year-old Vanessa VanDyke has been rocking a natural hairstyle to Faith Christian Academy near Orlando all year. But when the girl's parents complained that some classmates had been picking on VanDyke for her puffy locks, the school's administration reportedly responded by threatening to kick the girl out of school unless she cut her hair.
"It says that I'm unique," VanDyke, an honor student, told Click Orlando of her hair. "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."
The staff hadn't said anything about VanDyke's hair all year, but when VanDyke and her parents brought up the bullying issues, administrators trotted out the student handbook. School rules state that hair must be a natural color and must not be a "distraction." Though there are a few examples given -- Mohawks, shaved designs, rat tails -- the definition of "distracting hair" is left vague.
So the school allegedly gave her one week to tame her mane or face expulsion. The school has not publicly commented on the situation yet.
The controversy comes as the natural hair movement has found renewed strength over the past several years among women of color with naturally textured hair, both for cultural and health reasons. Many of the treatments commonly used to straighten hair contain potentially toxic chemicals.
No official word on how God feels about this Christian school threatening to kick VanDyke out over her hair, but sources confirm that God did indeed give VanDyke her curly hair in the first place. Sources further state that Jesus himself wasn't much of a fan of haircuts.
Send your story tips to the author, Kyle Munzenrieder.