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Florida girl, 12, threatened with expulsion for 'puffy' hair

Nov. 26, 2013 at 3:51 PM

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 26 (UPI) -- A black girl attending a private school in Florida was told to change her hair's naturally "puffy" style or face expulsion.

Vanessa VanDyke, 12, was told by administrators at Faith Christian Academy in Orlando she had this week to decide whether to restyle her hair or leave the school because it violates a policy against "distracting" hair styles.

Vanessa's mother, Sabrina Kent, said her daughter's hair has been the same all school year but was only brought up by administrators after she complained some children were teasing or bullying her daughter over the hair style, WKMG-TV, Orlando, reported Monday.

"There have been bullies in the school," Kent said. "There have been people teasing her about her hair, and it seems to me that they're blaming [my daughter]."

Vanessa said she's aware her hair prevents her from conforming to the look other students have but said she's happy with her style.

"It says that I'm unique," she said. "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."

A school representative declined to comment on the family's allegations. The school's dress code states: "Hair must be a natural color and must not be a distraction," citing examples of Mohawks, shaved designs and rat tails.

The family said they haven't decided how to proceed considering the school's threat of expulsion.

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