Grab some tissues.
A middle school principal shaved his head in front of students to support a child who was bullied after shaving his own head. Jackson Johnston – a sixth-grade student at Pekin Middle School – recently found out about his beloved grandfather’s cancer diagnosis, and he was determined to show “Papa Rick” that he wasn’t alone.
The 11-year-old says: “I’ve always wanted to be just like him, so I thought I’d shave my head with him to be just like him.” Earlier this month, Jackson surprised Papa with the new haircut. And while his grandfather, 58-year-old Rick Wilkerson was touched, the boy’s classmates weren’t supportive of his amazing gesture.
Several kids made fun of Jackson’s shaved head, calling him names like “Bald Boy” and asking him: “Why would you want to cut your hair like a cancer patient?” When principal Tim Hadley heard about the taunts, he decided against disciplining those students. Instead, he chose to “use this and turn it into a life lesson rather than just having a one-time conversation”.
The following morning, Hadley gathered 175 students together before inviting Jackson to shave off all the hair on his head. The principal said: “Before you judge, before you make that comment, before you think about what you’re going to say, really take into account that you don’t know what somebody else’s life is like. Even if it looks great on the outside — Instagram and Facebook look fabulous — they could be broken on the inside.”
A video of the beautiful gesture has garnered more than 105,000 views on Facebook since January 10. Jackson says: “I really realized that someone that’s not even related to my grandpa actually cares he has cancer. It meant a lot to me, and it’s probably the nicest thing anyone could have ever done.”