Most kids just need reassurance, not punishment. Look no further than the case of Indianapolis student Anthony Moore and his principal, Jason Smith, who turned a bad haircut into a heartwarming lesson.
Middle schooler Moore showed up to class wearing a baseball cap, which is against Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School’s dress code. The school’s dean spoke with Moore, then sent him to Smith’s office for a chat.
“I sat across from him and asked, ‘What’s wrong? Why are you being defiant, why are you refusing to take your hat off? It’s a pretty simple request,’” Smith said. “And he explained that his parents took him to get a haircut and he didn’t like the results.”
Smith said he and the dean thought his hair looked fine. “But you know he’s a 13 [or] 14-year-old kid, and we know social acceptance is more important than adult acceptance,” he said.
So Smith came up with a solution. He fixed Moore’s haircut himself.
Off went the hat, out came the clippers, and this kid didn’t have to feel embarrassed going through his day.
Moore’s mom, Tawanda Johnson, told CNN she was relieved about how Principal Smith handled the situation.
“He (Smith) handled it very well to keep him from getting in trouble at school,” she said. “I’m just glad that he was able to handle that without … being put in in-school suspension.”
So there you have it. Help kids feel better about themselves and you just might discover that you have the chops to open a barbershop, too. Win-win.
Of course, not every educator needs to own a pair of clippers. What matters here is that Principal Smith sat down with a student and really listened to the kid’s concerns. He didn’t see young Moore as a discipline problem—he’s a real person.
Don’t overlook the backgrounds Smith and Moore share, either. This is yet another reason why we need more Black male educators. Tune into Citizen Ed’s Black Male Teachers Matter broadcast next Monday to learn exactly how we get more of these life changing educators into classrooms. Only 2% of the nation’s teachers are Black men, so in the words of Dirk Tillotson, it’s simple: We need more Black teachers.