There’s a heartwarming story coming out of the Indianapolis area about a student who was feeling self-conscious about a haircut he’d just gotten … and a principal who stepped up to fix it.
According to the WRTV-TV story, Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School principal Jason Smith, in Warren Township, Indiana, helped out an eighth-grade student in an unexpected way, after the student ended up in his office after refusing to take his hat off in the classroom.
“I sat down with him and asked him why and what was going on,” Smith said. “He said he just got his haircut and didn’t like the way it looked. He thought his hairline looked a little funny.”
Smith had a novel proposal for the student. He said he’d cut the student’s hair if the student agreed to go back to class.
“I’ve been cutting hair most of my life,” Smith told the TV station. “I played college basketball, cut my teammates’ hair before games, and I’ve been cutting my son’s hair for 17 years. So, I had professional clippers and edgers at home, so I said, ‘If I go home and get my clippers and line you up, will you go back to class?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I will,’” Smith said.
Smith understood it was a point of pride for the young man, noting, “That age is a time where peer acceptance is huge. So, [for] a young man, especially an African-American young man, the barbershop is a big deal in the community. Looking good and representing and presenting yourself is huge for kids.”
A school police officer posted the photo alongside another school haircut photo on Facebook, and Smith went viral as a result.
The WRTV story noted that, “while many online are saying this principal went above and beyond, Principal Smith would tell you he’s doing exactly what he’s supposed to do. Not only because he’s the principal, but because he’s on a mission to change the culture of his school. A place where he wants to solve problems instead of making them worse.”
“We’re not disciplining with a hard fist,” he told the station. “You could call and have the parent pick up the kid up for defiance. Or you can sit and get to the root of the problem and see what can I do to help you? What do you need right now?”
Though Smith downplays what he did as “just part of his job,” it’s clearly resonated with people.