12 year-old Vanessa VanDyke was forced with a decision by her private school Faith Christian Academy in Orlando, Florida to cut her hair or face expulsion. Vanessa has been attending this school since she was in the third grade and it seems that her hair is just now starting to be come an issue.
It’s being reported that in the dress code section of their student handbook, “Hair must be a natural color and must not be a distraction…” So Vanessa’s voluminous mane is a distraction? “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,” Vanessa proudly stated of her hair.
This is the hair that grows out of this little girl’s head and it’s causing her to have to leave her school? Vanessa and her mother have plans to fight against the school’s strict ruling and she’s keeping her luxurious locks; so that means she’s leaving the school she’s gone to from third grade until sixth.
“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.”
What a mature young lady! This isn’t the first time a little Black girl has had to face incredulous criticism of her hair follicles. 7-year-old Tiana Parker was forced to change schools because her “distracting” dredlocks went against the school’s ridiculous dress code.
When are we going to stop devaluing our little Black girls. They start school, often tugging at their short ponytails, wishing they were loose and silky locks. I know I did. I hated my natural, breaking-the-comb, always greasy hair growing up. However, my school never made it a policy to discriminate against my wooly hair, nor did they ever make me feel ashamed for having textured hair.
The natural movement has taken over and brought along with it a sense of pride that’s spreading to a younger generation, allowing girls like Vanessa and Tiana to love the unique hair that’s naturally growing from their scalps. But then you have schools that are able to create policies, calling their tresses a distraction, which basically challenges everything that these young girls develop the courage and wisdom to love about themselves. Schools are supposed to educate, not discriminate.
When and where will it end?