Orlando girl in hair controversy returns to school

Vanessa Van Dyke attends with Faith Christian Academy with same hair style

Author: Sheli Muniz, Reporter, smuniz@wkmg.com
Published On: Dec 02 2013 09:00:41 AM EST   Updated On: Dec 02 2013 09:03:05 AM EST
ORLANDO, Fla. -

A 12-year-old Central Florida girl mired in a controversy over her hair returned to school without the fear of expulsion.

Vanessa Van Dyke attended classes Monday at Faith Christian Academy, a private school in Orlando, a week after she was told to change her hair style or face expulsion.

Vanessa and her hair were addressed Sunday during a church service sermon at Faith Assembly.

"We hope that the student and that we would put this behind them and continue to excel in the Christian eduction," said school board member Carl Jackson. 

"We love Vanessa. We want her back and we are not asking for any alterations and we want her back," Jackson told Local 6.

One week ago, Vanessa and her mother told Local 6 that she faced expulsion because administrators at Faith Christian Academy wanted her to either cut or straighten her hair.  School officials said her hair was a distraction and a violation of the student handbook, according to the family.

School leaders, however, later changed their stance, saying they wanted Vanessa to return after Thanksgiving break, even with her current hair style.

Vanessa now hopes she can move on without being taunted by other students.

In an interview with Vanessa, she told Local 6 that bullying by other students sparked the debate.

"First of all, (my hair is) 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," she said.

Vanessa's mother, Sabrina Kent, said her daughter was happy to return to school. She said she didn't want her daughter in the spotlight anymore and should the bullying or teasing continue, she would take further action.

Watch Local 6 News and stay with ClickOrlando.com for more on this story.