Public and private schools often have specific dress and grooming codes, but one private Christian school has crossed a line by threatening a 12-year old African-American girl with expulsion over her natural hair.
The Faith Christian Academy in Orlando, Florida reportedly has labeled Vanessa VanDyke’s hair a “distraction,” and says she must cut and straighten it or she will not be allowed to continue her studies. Their policy states “hair must be a natural color and must not be a distraction.”
Adding insult to injury, the school’s attack on VanDyke comes after she reported to authorities that she was being bullied for her hair. Now, school authorities seemingly are siding with the bullies, giving them support they certainly don’t deserve.
VanDyke says she likes her hair — which is similar to her mother’s.
“It says that I’m unique,” VanDyke says. “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.”
VanDyke has until the end of the week to adhere to the Faith Christian Academy’s demands.
If Faith Christian Academy were a public school, it’s doubtful they would be able to make such demands.
So a problem arises when one considers that the Faith Christian Academy is partially funded by taxpayer dollars.
Faith Christian Academy’s website states it “accepts students who qualify for the Step Up For Students Scholarship…a need based scholarship through the state of Florida.”
And the Step Up For Students program is indeed funded through Florida state taxpayer dollars.
“For the 2013-14 school year, scholarships are valued up to $4,880 for private school tuition or $500 to help cover transportation costs to attend a public school in another district, typically another county,” Step Up For Students states.
While it’s unknown if VanDyke participates in the program, Florida state taxpayers are funding a portion of this school’s discrimination.
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