Orlando private school won't expel African-American girl over hair

Vanessa VanDyke told to cut hair or leave Faith Christian Academy

Author: Erik Sandoval, Reporter, esandoval@wkmg.com
Published On: Nov 26 2013 07:00:13 PM EST   Updated On: Nov 27 2013 04:39:50 PM EST
Vanessa VanDyke
ORLANDO, Fla. -

Administrators at Faith Christian Academy now say they are not requiring one of their students to cut her hair in order to continue attending, but they are asking her to style it differently.

[UPDATE: Family releases statement]

Last week, a school adviser asked Vanessa Van Dyke's mother to either straighten or cut her daughter's hair or risk expulsion.

"African American hair grows out," mother Sabrina Kent said.  "It doesn't grow down.  Her hair is her hair.  What am I supposed to do?"

Vanessa admits her hair is very big compared to other students at her school.

"It's puffy, and I know people will make fun of me, because it's not straight," she said.  "I don't fit in."

Vanessa said she doesn't want to cut her hair and doesn't want to straighten it, either.  At the same time, she also doesn't want to leave her classroom at Faith Christian Academy and her friends.

After Local 6's original story aired, school administrators changed their requests of Vanessa and her family.

"We are not asking her to put products in her hair or to cut her hair," read a statement sent to Local 6.  "We are asking her to style her hair within the guidelines according to the school handbook."

The handbook does not cite large or frizzy hair, noting only, "Mohawks, shaved signs, rat tails, etc."

Kent said she and Vanessa are going to talk about their options over Thanksgiving.