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You wouldn’t think returning to school after Thanksgiving break would be exciting for most kids, but for Vanessa Van Dyke, it was pretty triumphant. The 12-year-old returned to Faith Christian Academy in Orlando, Florida after school officials threatened to expel her over her natural hairstyle, and she didn’t have to change a single hair on her head.

WKMG Local 6 Click Orlando reports that the tween blew up the internet when it was originally reported two weeks ago by her mother Sabrina Ken that school officials told Vanessa that she would have to straighten or cut her hair, or risk getting expelled. The incident sparked huge media controversy, and Ebony magazine even declared November 27 “National Afro Day” in Vanessa’s honor.

Administrators at Faith Christian Academy say that they were just following the rules laid out in the student handbook. Vanessa told Local 6 that the whole thing started because her “puffy” hairstyle was different from other kids, and it provoked bullying from some students. The school labeled Vanessa’s hair a “distraction.”

In defense of the media frenzy, Faith Christian issued this statement through school board member Carl Jackson:

We want to make it emphatically clear: these words were never mentioned, discussed as a potential consequence for this student within the school administration or with the parents. no one in the administration asked or demanded that the hair be cut, straightened, or tamed as I've read in some of the media outlets.” Jackson also told Local 6, "We love Vanessa. We want her back and we are not asking for any alterations…”

Vanessa returned to school with her au naturel ‘do today, and she and her mother are hopeful that there will be no more bullying over her hair choices, either by her fellow students or school officials.

Source: WKMG Local 6 Click Orlando