Vanessa VanDyke Won’t Be Expelled for Her Hair But…

by Yesha Callahan


She still has to style her hair according to school guidelines.

Earlier this week, 12-year-old Vanessa VanDyke, was threatened with expulsion from her private school unless she made changes to her hair. According to Faith Christian Academy in Orlando, Fl., Vanessa’s hair was considered a “distraction”.  Although Vanessa and her parents complained to school administrators about the bullying the pre-teen was receiving because of her hair, Vanessa seemed to be the one who had to change.

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported that the school is not going to expel Vanessa, but she still must abide by school’s policy of styling.

Faith Christian Academy released a statement to a local news outlet:

“We’re not asking her to put products in her hair or cut her hair.” However, they’re by no means accepting her current look, either. “We’re asking her to style her hair within the guidelines according to the school handbook,” the statement said.

Vanessa and her parents said they would use the Thanksgiving break to figure out what their next steps are in regards to her styling options.


  • Ash

    Her hair IS styled….shes wearing it down and it obviously looks combed. The school completely missed the point.

  • geenababe

    I wonder why they just won’t remove her from the school. First, it’s her hair then what will come next. From comments on the previous story this school is not a good place for a minority.

  • Zanabee

    I love her hair but her I guess her school is conservative so she could wear a bun to school that isn’t a big deal. Maybe she needs to attend a high school school that appreciates their kids freedom to express themselves but…yeah a bun ’til then.

  • another hairy kardashian sister

    thats party hair and school is not a party..its WORK. The whole point of uniformity in schools was so everybody would be equal and there’d be no distractions or competing fashion wise. You have to draw a line somewhere and this hair is not “Im here to learn” hair.

  • Anthony

    If that is the way she always wears her hair, how is it a distraction? Other kids should be used to seeing her hair by now.

    Really it just makes sense to teach kids how to respond to something out of the ordinary. For example, if a kid is going to touch her big hair, how will that kid respond to a big bosom in a low neckline or a big bulge in someone’s pants? Anyone should be able to see and not see or avoid needless comments about someone else’s appearance.

  • kina

    This hair you speak of grows out of her head naturally. So it would be ok to you if it was straight? thats how her hair is so get over yourself.. If everyone is suppose to be equal then she should be able to wear it out like everyone else

  • Macfille

    Her hair is styled, and quite nicely I might add. Beyond requiring it to be clean, that should not be mandating a damn thing about her hair and will probably receive a boatload of backlash if they continue to try. :-\

  • vintage3000

    After lmao @ your screen name I have to say i agree with you, unpopular as your opinion is. If the school has guidelines about hairstyles, why send this child to school in a Chaka Khan afro? They can do that on weekends, and during the week her hair can be in a high puff with a twist out, or an adorable bun, etc. And as mentioned on that other thread, I also agree that her hair is full and gorgeous but IMO the styling is sloppy. Natural does not have to mean wild and all over the place, and i kind of get the feeling her mother does not know what to do with all that hair besides picking it out and putting a flower in it. They could probably benefit from learning different ways to style her hair.

  • Meday

    So if she said that the white students wearing their straight hair down is a distraction, would the school listen? This is her hair in its natural state and out – what is she supposed to do? Straighten it to look like a white woman’s hair? I say the parents fight. This girl looks awesome and I love and want her hair!

  • jay cee

    Is this a school with a white administration and the population is predominantly white? Then why is she there anyway? Get her out of there!

  • Nic

    You know, so many people are so used to seeing black hair either weaved up or fried that their opinion of what is “normal” is really skewed.
    I have big hair like her and I wear it to work every day. It is much easier to work WITH your hair than against it, which is what she and her mom are doing.
    I got interviewed and hired with big hair. And there are not a lot of black people in my industry (technology).

  • Amor

    They are saying the same thing. Can they please leave her hair alone? Next thing you know they could tell her to change her color if it is a distraction.

  • Aria Wilson

    What is sad is that all the little white, latino and Asian girls can wear their hair exactly how it grows out of their dang head…but the little black girl…OH NO’S! SHE has to DO something with hers. We can’t have non-straight hair worn down and in its natural, God-given state!

    WHY? Why is OUR hair “unacceptable” but every. other. race. of girl is A-OK?

  • MommieDearest


    There is STILL no evidence that school has dealt with, or plans to deal with, the bullies who CAUSED this “distraction” in the first place.

    And I really don’t understand how so many people commenting on this story (not just here, but on many other blogs and news sites) want to put the onus on Vanessa to style her hair differently to stay within the guidelines. HER. HAIR. IS. STYLED. WITHIN. THE. GUIDELINES.

    Her hair is a natural color.

    It is it not styled in a mohawk, a shaved design, rat tail, spikes, asemetrical layers, etc…

    Her hair did not become a “distraction” until she reported being teased about it.

    I bet you that if it were a white girl with big frizzy red hair being teased (ESPECIALLY if she was being teased by black students *side eye*) the school would deal with the bullies and NOT require her to change her hair. And I would be OK with that because it would be the correct course of action.

    Why can’t this little black girl get the same consideration? Why should SHE have to change to make “others” comfortable? Why should SHE have to wear a bun or ponytail to school, yet naturally (and NON-naturally) straight-haired girls with hair down past their backs do not? I think it’s “distracting” when long straight-haired girls constantly fling their hair around for no apparent reason other than that they can. I’ve been on the receiving end of a “hair to the face assault” more than a few times because I was too close behind the “assailant” and didn’t move away fast enough. I bet the same thing happens at that school but of course they are not required to ‘tame” their hair because it’s a “distraction.” *side eye and smirk*

    Requiring this girl to change her hair style is ridiculous and unfair. I don’t know why that is so hard for some people to grasp.

    At this point, there is no way Vanessa will get a moment’s peace in that school. I want her parents to pull her out of there, but not until they make them tighten up that hair policy. She can be proud of the fact that she was an agent of change and her story will help other little black girls who may want to attend that school in the future.

  • MimiLuvs…

    Let’s say that she does style her hair in a bun, what’s the next step if the taunting and acts of bullying doesn’t decline?

  • MommieDearest


    She’s already a target, and they will just find something else to bully her about. That is why you don’t make the VICTIM responsible for stopping the BULLY’S behavior. The school needs to make the bullies responsible for their own actions and punish them accordingly.

    And, how about.. oh… I don’t know…. maybe threatening the bullies with expulsion if they don’t correct their behavior? Is that too radical an idea?

  • Chad

    Yeah they probably would never have an Asian as Class President or an African-American as Vice President…Oh wait!! they do!!

  • vintage3000

    I am confused about how styling her hair a different way is “working against it”–that’s like saying natural hair should not be worn any way except loose and not manipulated because anything else will damage it. That is not true. I have natural hair also and have worked in conservative financial services, most of the time I wear either a bun or twist out and never had any problems with either. But if I wore a big ass afro to work and sat in on meetings like that blocking folks’ view–yeah that could be a problem and I get that. I worked with one White woman who has long, wavy thick blond hair that she usually wears loose–Pantene shampoo commercial hair. She told me so many recruiters have warned her “do something with your hair, it looks messy, i can’t send you out on job interviews looking like that”. Remember that little blond white girl who was sent home from school picture day because she wore her hair in a Lady Gaga bow? She and her parents were told it was too extreme, etc. There are some institutions that require some measure of uniformity.

    I have seen so many natural haired women on Youtube with tutorials on how they style their daughters’ hair and there are so many styles (our hair is versatile) that maintain the health and beauty of a girl’s hair. No one is saying this child here should have cornrows with a million different colored barrettes and beads, or straighten it. While I agree this school is a bunch of idiots by punishing a bullied child instead of the bullies, aside from that It’s interesting to me how reactive some people are about the idea of this child simply changing her hairstyle–not her hair.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    they are all mad because she is cuter than they are…..

  • Marie


  • Dick McBallsinsax

    They should shave the heads of the kids that were making fun of her.

  • Marie

    @another hairy kardashian sister:

    If her Mom can’t style her hair that reflects individuality, she should take her to a salon for an appropriate style. Her natural hair isn’t the problem; all hair should be combed or coiffed in some manner for a neat appearance. I don’t think her hair is a distraction, its just not groomed for school; but like you said,its party hair.

  • http://McCorvey Anita

    So damn ridiculous that Black people are still fighting for the basic right to exist! I would keep her at the school and MAKE THEM educate themselves. I would sue the shit out of the ignorant bastards. I would love to take it to the courtroom and fully display the ignorance. What’s the case law on this? It’s been happening like this for 30 years. The Law has been established!!

  • MommieDearest


    I have no problem with the idea of Vanessa styling her hair differently. My issue is, she should style it differently IF SHE CHOOSES TO; not because the school administration says she HAS TO because of some vague, subjective rule that is NOT enforced equitably.

    Her hair style is no worse or better than a straight-haired girl’s who has long hair and wears it loose and flowing. If a straight haired girl’s loose style isn’t against the rule, then neither is Vanessa’s. If the school wants to make Vanessa’s hair a problem and force her to “tame’ it, then they need to apply that same rule to ALL students who have long hair. Make them ALL wear a bun or ponytail.
    Singling this girl out for daring to wear her hair as God intended it (at a CHRISTIAN school, no less…) is beyond asinine.

    I’m still waiting for them to address the bullying issue. I guess I won’t hold my breath though.

  • ColorMePretty

    Ok coon.

  • Manden

    it is her natural hair you self hating fool. go pick cotton!

  • Manden

    self hating fool. are you still willing to pick the white man’s cotton?

  • Anyway

    Why are we the only race of people who have to “style” our hair to make it “ruly”? Why do white, hispanic, asian women get to just wear their hair out in its natural form? But we have to style, gel, braid, put it in a bun so white people can feel comfortable. nonsense. This lil girl looks awesome and I love her hair.

  • vintage3000

    @ Mommie Dearest: “because the school administration says she HAS TO because of some vague, subjective rule that is NOT enforced equitably”

    How do you know that, exactly? Are you personally aware of how all the other students wear their hair?

  • MommieDearest


    Now you know good and well that there are plenty of white girls that attend this school, as well as schools across the country, who wear their hair loose and free. But if you want proof, go to the Faith Christian Academy website. You will see all manner of naturally straight haired girls with their hair unbound and free.

  • Me27

    I didn’t think the guidelines specified what was appropriate. From what I have seen, they indicate what is not appropriate. Unless they are establishing some guidelines that require uniformity among the entire student body and requiring all students to change their hair, I don’t see how this is legal.

    And once again, the school has failed to address the real issue. This girl complained of being bullied, when are they going to deal with the bullies?

  • Tara

    I think that this little girl is beautiful and she has beautiful hair. Now having said that all she need to do was pull her hair back. All of that media mess over nothing. Just pull your hair back when you are in school. Damn. All of that over nothing.

  • Que

    I am loc’d and a self proclaimed natural Nazi BUT looking at her pic….she needs to put some style to it. She basically looks like she rolled out of bed and slapped a bow on. Smh I can see this distracting me if I saw her walking down the street. Beautiful hair…needs a hook-up though. She doesn’t rep us naturalistas. Her mother needs to know how to rock a good natural style on her daughter. There are plenty tutorials on YouTube. I guarantee if she did she wouldn’t be in her situation.

  • geenababe

    I don’t know may there is something wrong with me because I have no problem with the way her hair is style in that picture.

  • Que

    I totally agree. Pretty girl, pretty hair…..but needs to be hooked-up. As a loose haired natural girl to now loc’d natural girl, this little girl’s hair is not a good reflection for naturalistas. There is more style and sophistication to black hair. She looks like she rolled out of bed and slapped a flower on! It’s inappropriate for school. I encourage her and her mother to learn her hair texture and explore the endless styles that come with it. (Youtube tutorials maybe?)

  • KemaVA

    If she needs to pull her hair back then everyone should have to pull their hair back.

  • NappturallyFabulous

    This girl is an HONOR student, and all they can do is trip about her hair? I say they need to leave her alone. There’s nothing wrong with it. If that school is as “Christian” as it claims then they should be accepting her as God made her! Sounds to me like some of the kids are taunting her because they are jealous that her hair is both long AND natural, and let’s face it a lot of us usually don’t wind up with both.

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