INDIANAPOLIS — When a student refused to take off his hat in class, instead of punishing the teen, principal Jason Smith helped him feel better about himself.
Lewis Speaks Sr., the in-school police officer at Stonybrook Intermediate School, shared the image of Smith cutting the student’s hair.
Speaks said Smith didn’t call the student’s parents or kick him out of the building for the day. Instead, he sat down and spoke to the teen.
It turns out that the boy thought his barber had messed up his cut, WRTV reported.
Smith gave the student a choice.
“I said, ‘Hey, if I line you up, if I fix your line, will you take the hat off and go to class?’ and he said, ‘yes’”, Smith told WTHR.
“He really was not trying to get out of class. He just thought that he would be laughed at. So, we took the time and did what we could to help him,” Smith told WRTV.
The principal then left school, braving snow-covered roads, to get his hair clippers.
This wasn’t the first hair cut Smith had done. He started cutting the hair of his teammates when he played college basketball.
“I’ve been cutting hair most of my life. 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,” Smith told WRTV.
Smith said that the simple cut meant a lot to the student.
“You know that age is a time for peer acceptance. It’s huge. And 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,” Smith told WRTV.
Since the day the principal listened instead of punishing the student, the eighth grader has been doing better in school. Smith wants to put a haircutting program that he had heard about in another school into his own middle school, WTHR reported.