Principal cuts hair of middle schooler embarrassed about haircut

The student wore a hat to conceal his hair which is against the school's dress code

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Jason Smith, a principal at Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Indianapolis, Indiana, has gone viral after social media learned of his good deed to boost the confidence of one of his students, Anthony Moore.

Moore wore a hat to conceal his hair which is against the school’s dress code. The dress code violation led to a 30-minute discussion with the school dean before Smith was asked to step in, according to CNN.

“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.”

Though Smith and the dean thought his hair looked appropriate, Smith said he understood that “he’s a 13 or 14-year-old kid, and we know social acceptance is more important than adult acceptance.”

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Smith, who has cut hair for years, drove home to get his clippers to help Moore. The school contacted Moore’s parent for consent.

“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?’ He hesitated but then he said yes,” Smith said.

Tawanda Johnson, Moore’s mother, thought Smith’s gesture was compassionate.

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

Smith, who said he understood the cultural importance of hair as a Black male, said he learned that Moore kept his hat off for the remainder of the day.

“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. 

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The principal’s thoughtful deed brought positive responses on Twitter. Celeste Headlee tweeted, “More of this, please. More of people asking questions before punishing. More of people problem-solving instead of judging.”

Fellow user @Keithnab tweeted, “That principal is a great person. I empathize with that young man about his haircut, especially at that age.”

Another user named Rubenia Borge tweeted, “For a world with more people like Mr. Smith!”

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