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Headteacher allows pupil to shave his head after he’s bullied

11-year-old teased after shaving off his own hair in support of sick grandfather

A headteacher with a heart of gold let a child shave his head after finding out he was being taunted over his grandad’s cancer battle.

Jackson Johnston chopped his own hair off for his Papa Rick, who recently lost his hair to Mantle cell lymphoma.

But when he returned to school, the 11-year-old was picked on by fellow pupils, being called “baldy”.

He was also told he “looked like a cancer patient” and asked “why would you want a cancer patient’s haircut?”

Jackson’s mum Amber found out and phoned the school head to tell him about the bullies.

The Pekin Middle School headteacher came up with a heartwarming way to support Jackson – shave his own head.

Mr Hadley told The Des Moines Register: “We take the issue of bullying seriously, but I thought if you believe in something, you have to find a way to stand up and literally show your support.

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“So I was lying in bed and I thought maybe I will get a hold of his mom and ask her to send those clippers in.”

Jackson’s Papa has incurable cancer of the blood and lymph nodes and is on an eight-month treatment course.

Amber said: “One thing that really scared him was losing his hair.

“He thought it would be an outward sign that he had cancer and that everyone he saw would be thinking, ‘Poor Rick,’ and he was just dreading that.”

She added: “Jackson shaving his head for Papa was letting him know that, ‘I can’t do much to help you, Papa, I am only 11, but you won’t be alone.'”

Mr Hadley said of what’s happened after his buzz-cut: “Since then we have had several students voluntarily shave their heads as well, as a show if support.

“We’ve also had students begin to open up about their own struggles and life battles.

“I have had several in and out of my office sharing with me things they are going through that I was not aware of before.

“I truly hope it is a culture we can maintain long after the hair grows back.”

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A teacher at the school, Paula Pollock, posted a clip of the big hair-cut to Facebook.

She wrote: “This student shaved his head this weekend to show his support.

“Unfortunately some students didn’t react the best way so Tim Hadley decided to back the kid up.

“What better way than to let him shave his principals head.”

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Paula told the Mirror: “I knew it was an awesome thing but never dreamt that it would have such an effect on so many people.

“Our principal has done so many other things for staff and students that his gesture didn’t surprise me.

“He is so caring and invested in our children that this was just one more thing he would do.”

What a lovely man.

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