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

We've all had at least one bad haircut in our lifetimes, and chances are, we remember how that bad haircut made us feel.Jason Smith, the middle school...

Posted: Feb 26, 2021 10:14 AM
Updated: Feb 26, 2021 3:15 PM

We've all had at least one bad haircut in our lifetimes, and chances are, we remember how that bad haircut made us feel.

Jason Smith, the middle school principal at Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Indianapolis, Indiana, understood that feeling. And that's why it was a no-brainer to jump into action for one of his students, Anthony Moore.

Moore was wearing a hat, which is against the school's dress code. After the student spoke with a school dean for about 30 minutes, Smith was asked to step in.

'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,'' Smith said. 'And he explained that his parents took him to get a haircut and he didn't like the results.'

Smith said he and the dean thought his hair looked fine. 'But you know he's a 13 [or] 14-year-old kid, and we know social acceptance is more important than adult acceptance,' he said.

'I told him, 'Look, I've been cutting hair since I was your age,' and I showed him pictures of my son's haircuts that I did and some of me cutting hair in college. And I said, 'If I run home and get my clippers and fix your line, will you go back to class?'' Smith said. 'He hesitated but then he said yes.'

So in the snow, Smith drove back home to get his clippers and brought them to his office to line Moore's head up while his parents were called for consent to touch up his hair.

Tawanda Johnson, Moore's mom, said she thought the gesture was wonderful.

'He (Smith) handled it very well to keep him from getting in trouble at school,' she said. 'I'm just glad that he was able to handle that without ... being put in in-school suspension.'

'He didn't say straight out, but I feel like he didn't want to be laughed at,' Smith said. '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,' Smith said.

Smith made sure to check on Moore throughout the day, and found that he was learning and didn't have his hat on after the touch-up.

'All behavior is communication and when a student is struggling, we need to ask ourselves what happened to this child instead of what's wrong with the child,' Smith said. 'What need is the child trying to get met and really, the future of urban education rests on that question.'

Smith said the consequence for not abiding by the dress code ordinarily would have been in-school suspension or being picked up by a parent, which, Smith said, 'would have prevented him from being in front of a classroom teacher and giving him the education he deserves, so it really worked out well.'

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A few areas of frost are possible this morning as temperatures have fallen into the mid 30s. Today temperatures will remain below average with highs in the upper 50s and lower 60s under mostly sunny skies. A few clouds will move back into the area tonight as temperatures dip down into the mid to lower 30s. Areas of frost will be possible again early Thursday morning. Conditions will stay relatively the same on Thursday with highs in the upper 50s under mostly sunny skies. Rain chances will move back into the area on Friday, mainly through the afternoon and evening keeping temperatures in the lower 50s. A few rain showers could linger through early Saturday morning before moving out of the area. Sunday looks to be a dry and mild day with temperatures remaining in the upper 50s. Temperatures will start to warm up on Monday with highs back in the low to mid 60s before a cold front moves through the area dropping temperatures back into the 50s on Tuesday.
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