I don’t know about you but I am so tired of hearing about little girls that are discriminated against because of their hair. 12 year old Vanessa VanDyke attended Faith Christian Academy in Orlando Florida. The school has given Vanessa a week to decide if she will cut her hair or get expelled.
Faith Christian Academy considers Vanessa’s hair a ‘distraction’ and it really became a problem when she complained of being bullied and teased at school about it. The best solution the Christian School could find was to give Vanessa the ultimate ultimatum; Cut your hair or leave the school.
Last time I checked education was a child’s right and our role as parents, teachers and school officials was to make that happen despite what grows from a child head. Faith Christian sees things a little different; they apparently have a thing against black hair. Honestly when I read these stories, my personal opinion is that it is not just discriminatory based on the subject of hair, but it is racist as well. I will leave that there for you to think about a bit.
When asked about her hair Vanessa said “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.”
This stuff is so enraging, and to think that everyday we are trying to teach our daughters to accept themselves for who they are, every strand, finger nail, pinky toe, likes and dislikes, just for them to go to school get ridiculed and cannot even trust the grow ups around them to care.
On a positive note, Elle Varner wrote a beautiful poem dedicated to Little Vanessa that we thought we would share:
So much they care about my hair. As if it wasn’t standing there
Before they even asked my name. They’re sizing up my massive mane.
Or judging by my lack of locks, So many things I am not. A little box I’m Crowded in,
A label now upon my skin.
So much they missed, and all because my hair was not.
Like their hair was. But a ballerina with no bun.
It’s not a sky without a sun. So whatever be upon your head, a Blonde toupee or Tar toned
Dreads. May they see you for who you are, and care what lies within your heart
Vanessa, if you read this, just know that you are beautiful just the way you are.
The BHI Team
After Local 6’s original story aired, school administrators changed have now 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 specify a problem with large or frizzy hair, noting only, “Mohawks, shaved signs, rat tails, etc.” are not allowed. The child’s mother said that she and Vanessa would talk about their options over Thanksgiving.
Not quite the complete backtrack we are have been hoping for based on how these stories usually turn out but at least it’s a start.