The principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Indiana is going viral after giving one of his students a haircut when he refused to take his beanie off.
“He was refusing to take his hat off. So, I sat down with him and asked him why? What was going on,” said Jason Smith. “He said he just got his haircut, he didn’t like the way it looked, and he thought his hairline look a little funny.”
Smith said he understood what a haircut meant to a middle school student and decided to fix his haircut to boost his confidence.
“I’ve been cutting hair most of my life,” Smith said. “I played college basketball and I 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,’ and he said, ‘Yeah, I will.'”
After getting a haircut by his principal, the student returned to class.
While a perfect haircut may seem trivial to some, Smith said he knows that to a middle school Black boy it can mean the world.
“You know that age is a time for peer acceptance. It’s huge,” Smith said. “And so 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.”
Smith says this viral haircut could be a lesson for all educators on having empathy for their students.