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Principal Fixes Insecure Student’s Haircut Rather Than Discipline Him For Wearing Hat

by : Emily Brown on : 26 Feb 2021 18:09
Principal Fixes Insecure Student's Haircut Rather Than Discipline Him For Wearing HatLewis Speaks Sr./Facebook

A middle school principal has been praised after helping one of his students fix his haircut rather than disciplining him for wearing a hat. 

Jason Smith, who works at Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Indianapolis, Indiana, was asked to step in when student Anthony Moore refused to take his hat off.

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After the student had spent 30 minutes speaking with a school dean, Smith couldn’t understand why Moore wouldn’t simply remove his hat, which went against the school’s dress code.

SchoolPexels

Recalling the situation, per CNN, Smith said:

I sat across from him and asked, ‘What’s wrong? Why are you being defiant, why are you refusing to take your hat off? It’s a pretty simple request.’

And he explained that his parents took him to get a haircut and he didn’t like the results.

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Both Smith and the dean thought Moore’s haircut looked fine, but he acknowledged that the student was only 13 or 14 years old; an age at which ‘social acceptance is more important than adult acceptance.’

Students who refuse to abide by the school’s dress code would typically be punished with an in-school suspension or through being picked up by a parent, though Smith noted that this would have prevented Moore from ‘being in front of a classroom teacher and giving him the education he deserves.’

In an effort to make the student feel better about his hair, Smith said: ‘Look, I’ve been cutting hair since I was your age.’ The principal showed Moore pictures of his son’s haircuts, and asked whether he’d be willing to remove his hat and go back to class if Smith went home, retrieved his clippers and fixed the student’s hair.

Teacher fixing student's hairLewis Speaks Sr./Facebook
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Moore is said to have been hesitant at first, but he then agreed with the plan and Smith went to get his clippers.

After calling his parents for permission, Smith set about fixing Moore’s hair.

The principal commented:

He didn’t say straight out, but I feel like he didn’t want to be laughed at. The barbershop and hair cuts as Black males is very important in the community and looking your best and being sharp — it’s just a cultural aspect.

Just from my being a Black male myself and coming through that culture and you know, I really think girls matter at that age, which [means] appearance then could matter. He was scared he was going to be laughed at and we were pretty sure no one would notice, but he was looking through his lens.

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Once Smith had worked his magic, Moore went back to class. Smith checked on the student throughout the day and was satisfied to know that the student was learning and was not wearing his hat.

HaircutPexels

The teacher stressed that ‘all behaviour is communication’, and that when a student is struggling ‘we need to ask ourselves what happened to this child instead of what’s wrong with the child.’

He added: ‘What need is the child trying to get met and really, the future of urban education rests on that question.’

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Moore’s mum, Tawanda Johnson, has praised Smith for the way he handed the situation, and expressed her happiness that her son was able to forego an in-school suspension.

After images of Smith cutting Moore’s hair were shared online, the teacher was praised by social media users as ‘selfless’ and ‘awesome’.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Life, haircut, Indiana, Now

Credits

CNN and 1 other
  1. CNN

    A middle schooler was insecure about his haircut. So his principal fixed it himself instead of disciplining the boy for wearing a hat

  2. Lewis Speaks Sr./Facebook

    @lewis.speaks