Principal allows student to shave his head as anti-bully message

PEKIN, Iowa (KCRG) — It’s the haircut that’s gone viral. An Iowa school principal allowed one of his sixth-grade students to shave his head.

Jackson Johnston is in sixth grade. Sunday night, he shaved his entire head. He felt confident until Monday, when a few other students started asking questions.

“I was going to my first class and I had someone walk by me and say, ‘well, you look like you have cancer’ and I’m just, like, I am not the one who has cancer,” Jackson explained. ‘I did this because my grandpa has cancer.”

Jackson’s papa is fighting a rare form of lymphoma. They’re close. If it involves sports, they’re doing it together. So when Jackson decided to shave his head before papa lost his hair, he made a lot of people proud.

“When we got down to papa’s that day, his hair hasn’t all come out yet, but it’s patchy,” Jackson’s mother, Amber, said. “He didn’t want to shave it, he didn’t want to spook the kids. He was going to wait. Then Jackson comes in and takes his hat off and says ‘hey papa, I thought we could start a new club.’ Just the emotion that went over his face, it was just amazing.”

That’s why when Principal Tim Hadley heard Jackson went home upset, he took things into his own hands.

“I sent mom a message [and] I said you still have the clippers? She said yeah, I said can you send them with Jackson tomorrow?” Hadley said.

“I was, like, is he going to threaten the other kid with the clippers?” Jackson said.

That wasn’t the idea. He sat everyone down and asked Jackson to come up front and right there, he shaved Hadley’s head. That’s what they call Pekin pride.

“My mother had thyroid cancer, my mother in law had uterine cancer, I had a grandfather who didn’t finish the battle against cancer,” Hadley explained. “It was something that resonated deeply with me. I know so many people that have gone through what Jackson’s going through. To be a young man and find out that a family member has potentially a life threatening illness, it’s a difficult thing to handle.”

“That gave our family a lot of hope and a lot of happiness when things haven’t been very happy or hopeful lately,” Amber said.

“Probably is the number one principal ever,” Jackson added.

Now the hair will grow back, but the memory will stick with these two for a lifetime.

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