INDIANAPOLIS (WRTV) - Using some clippers and a little bit ofpatience, an Indianapolis principal solved a problem by giving his middleschool student a haircut when the boy wasn’t feeling confident in hisappearance. It’s earned him praise online.
Jason Smith is the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate andMiddle School in Warren Township, Indiana. An eighth grade student ended up inhis office after refusing to take his hat off at school.
“I sat down with him and asked him why and what was going on. Hesaid he just got his haircut and didn’t like the way it looked. He thought hishairline looked a little funny,” Smith said.
The principal says he thought the student looked fine butunderstood that the boy’s lack of confidence in his appearance was keeping himfrom going to class. He offered to cut the student’s hair, if he agreed to goback to class.
“I’ve been cutting hair most of my life. I played collegebasketball cut my teammates’ hair before games, and I’ve been cutting my son’shair for 17 years. So, I had professional clippers and edgers at home, so Isaid, ‘If I go home and get my clippers and line you up, will you go back toclass?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I will,’” Smith said.
After getting cleaned up by his principal, the student held uphis end of the bargain and went to class.
While a perfect haircut may seem trivial to some, Smith says heknows that to a Black middle school student, it can mean the world.
“That age is a time where peer acceptance is huge. So, a youngman, especially an African American young man, the barbershop is a big deal inthe community. Looking good and representing and presenting yourself is hugefor kids,” he said.
While many online are saying the principal went above andbeyond, Smith says he’s doing exactly what he’s supposed to do. He’s on amission to change the culture of his school to make it a place where problemsget solved, instead of making them worse.
“We’re not disciplining with a hard fist. You could call andhave the parent pick the kid up for defiance, or you can sit and get to theroot of the problem and see what can I do to help you? What do you need rightnow?” Smith said.
Smith, who is studying for his doctorate in education, says he’sstill searching for the best ways to create the perfect learning environmentfor his students. He says this haircut could be a lesson for all educators onhaving empathy.
“He really was not trying to get out of class. He just thoughtthat he would be laughed at, so we took the time and did what we could to helphim,” Smith said.