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Vanessa VanDyke, 12, faces expulsion from her Central Florida school if she doesn't cut, or at least groom her puffy afro hairstyle, WKMG Local 6 reports.
Vanessa, who is a talented violinist, said school officials gave her an ultimatum: either cut her unruly afro or be expelled from Faith Christian Academy in Orlando, where she has been a student since the third grade.
School officials point to a dress code policy that prohibits hairstyles or attire that causes a distraction.
The dress code examples include, but are not limited to, mohawks, shaved designs and rat tails.
But Vanessa and her mother have no plans to change her hairstyle because her unkempt afro is part of the teenagers "personal identity".
"It says that I'm unique," said VanDyke. "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 distraction to one person is not a distraction to another," said VanDyke's mother, Sabrina Kent. "You can have a kid come in with pimples on his face. Are you going to call that a distraction?"
VanDyke said she's had her large, natural hair all year long, but it only became an issue after the family complained about students teasing her about her hair.
"There have been bullies in the school," said Kent. "There have been people teasing her about her hair, and it seems to me that they're blaming her."
"I'm depressed about leaving my friends and people that I've known for a while, but I'd rather have that than the principals and administrators picking on me and saying that I should change my hair," said VanDyke. Source
When self-centered children are taught that the rules don't apply to them, it can lead to a false sense of entitlement that mushrooms into full-blown narcissism by the time the child reaches adulthood.
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