27/11/2013 12:34 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

School Threatens To Expel Girl Over Her Natural Afro Hair

A 12-year-old girl has been threatened with expulsion from school if she doesn't cut her natural afro hair.

Vanessa VanDyke has been bullied over her hair style by fellow pupils, but when her mum Sabrina told teachers at Orlando's Faith Christian Academy in Florida, they said Vanessa needed to cut her afro as the style is a 'distraction'.

Shocked Vanessa says she was given a week to make a decision about cutting her hair, and told if she didn't trim it down, she would have to leave the school. She is refusing to back down, and says her hair is part of her identity.

"It says that I'm unique," said Vanessa. "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 want to fit in."

Vanessa and Sabrina also claim Vanessa's hair had never been called into question until the family contacted the school over the bullying.

School officials claim Vanessa's afro violates its dress code, stating that 'hair must be a natural color and must not be a distraction'. It cites mohawks, shaved designs, and rat tails as distracting styles.

Vanessa and Sabrina are planning to fight the school on the issue. We'll keep you posted!