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Instead of Discipline, Student Gets Haircut

Principal doubles as barber to get student back to class
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2021 1:00 PM CST

(Newser) – An eighth grader in Indiana was recently sent to the principal’s office for refusing to take off his hat at school. But rather than giving the boy a reprimand, the principal gave him a haircut WRTV reports. “I sat down with him and asked him why and what was going on. He said he just got his haircut and didn’t like the way it looked. He thought his hairline looked a little funny,” says Jason Smith, principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township. So Smith made a deal with the student: He would cut the boy’s hair if the boy agreed to go back to class. “I’ve been cutting hair most of my life,” Smith says. “I played college basketball cut my teammates’ hair before games, and I’ve been cutting my son’s hair for 17 years.” The student agreed, and Smith retrieved his barbering tools from home and cleaned up the boy’s hairline.

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The boy’s mom, Tawanda Johnson tells CNN that Smith “handled it very well to keep him from getting in trouble at school.” In a Facebook post that first publicized the incident, school police Officer Lewis Speaks Sr. praised Smith as a “great leader,” writing, “The principal could have easily called the child’s parent and put him out of school for the day, but he took time out of his busy schedule to make sure the student was successful completing his first day of school.” Smith tells WRTV that the gesture fits right in with the learning environment he’s trying to create: “We’re not disciplining with a hard fist. You could call and have the parent pick 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?” (Read more uplifting news stories.)

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