Little Girl Sent Home From School For Drawing A Picture Of Jelly Roll & Bunnie XO For A Project On Resilience

Jelly Roll's journey highlights the importance of resilience and the capacity for positive change, a lesson students should be learning about.

Inspiration art project, Jelly Roll and Bunnie XO halfpoint, ferrantraite | Canva, Featureflash Photo Agency | Shutterstock

A little girl was sent home from school after presenting a project that did not sit well with teachers. 

The purpose of the assignment was to depict something or someone that had “resilience.” The girl chose to focus on American rapper and singer Jelly Roll and his wife, Bunnie XO. 

The girl was suspended after sharing a drawing of Jelly Roll and Bunnie XO she composed for a school project. 

In August 2023, a middle school teacher in Rutherford County, Tennessee gave their class the assignment to compose an essay on someone or something that had influenced them in some way. 


One student, Calista, decided to focus her project on singer Jelly Roll, whose real name is Jason Bradley Deford, and his wife, Bunnie XO, as their relationship had withstood hurdles that inspired the young girl. 

According to a Facebook video posted by the girl’s mother, Calista was warned by her teacher beforehand that she could not base her project on Jelly Roll and Bunny XO. 

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“She told me I couldn’t do him due to him being inappropriate and his past being inappropriate,” Calista explained. “She said if I did him, I would face disciplinary action.” 

Still, the girl chose to follow her heart and do her assignment on Jelly Roll and Bunnie XO

Along with an essay, Calista chose to draw Jelly Roll and Bunnie XO and present the picture to her class. 

However, her drawings offended her teachers given Jelly Roll’s past and his criminal record. The school chose to suspend Calista for her project. 

According to Calista’s mother, Delisa Patrick, she had reviewed her daughter’s essay and drawings beforehand and saw nothing wrong or inappropriate about either of them. 


“The essay basically stated how Jelly Roll had been in jail, and how he got his GED while he was in there, and how he had previous drug charges, and basically how he overcame all of that and he is where he is today,” Patrick said. 

She added that the teacher would not allow her daughter to read the parts of her essay that detailed any part of Jelly Roll’s past involving his involvement with drugs and jail time. 

Jelly Roll was arrested at 16 for aggravated robbery and was later sent back to jail on drug charges. 

According to Davidson County Criminal Court records, Jelly Roll was arrested and served time after being convicted of felony robbery and drug charges in two separate cases. 

At age 16, he was arrested for aggravated robbery and charged as an adult. 


He has since taken full accountability for his past. “I never want to overlook the fact that it was a heinous crime,” Jelly Roll told Billboard in an interview. “This is a grown man looking back at a 16-year-old kid that made the worst decision that he could have made in life and people could have got hurt and, by the grace of God, thankfully, nobody did.” 

When he was 23, he was arrested again for drug dealing. However, he drastically turned his life around after he learned that his daughter, Bailee Ann had been born. 

Jelly Roll transferred from the violent offenders’ unit to the education unit and began studying to take his GED. He passed on his first try and was able to meet his daughter on her second birthday. 


Today, Bailee Ann lives with her dad and her stepmother Bunnie XO. Jelly Roll has full custody of his daughter. 

He credits his wife for helping him get his life back on track and changing for the better. “I would have never got custody of my daughter without her. I wouldn’t have had the stability or the money,” he said. 



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Even if his life appears to be picture-perfect now, it was not always that way. Jelly Roll’s past is something that should not be brushed under the rug, not to shame him, but to remind others that it is never too late to turn around their own lives. 

This is the message that the girl was attempting to convey to her classmates before she was shut down by her teachers. 

The teacher believed that discussing Jelly Roll’s past was inappropriate for other students to hear since it involved drugs and jail time. 

However, Patrick had a different take. 

“I think we all, kids included, hear that because it’s in his [Jelly Roll’s] music and it’s in Bunnie’s podcast. It’s in their life,” she said. “They’re human beings. They have lived a life, yes it may not have been the greatest, but they’ve turned it around, and look where they are now.” 


Thankfully, the majority of the school community agreed with Calista and her mother. 



“Wow! That’s insane! Bunnie and Jelly are amazing people. They have compassion, and kindness and are amazing humans,” one TikTok user commented. 

“Bunnie is an incredible lady! She tells it like it is and she has more compassion in one finger than most people have in their whole body,” another user wrote. 


“How about applauding the child for doing the assignment and recognizing at such a young age that people can evolve and change for the better!” another user suggested. 

The girl’s story quickly spread on social media and caught the attention of two very important people in her life. 

Jelly Roll and Bunnie XO learned about the girl’s suspension and called on followers to show her some love. 

“Y’all I need your help. There is a little girl who did a project on J & I.. she picked us because of all we’ve been thru & our resilience,” Bunnie shared in a Facebook post.


“For the project, she drew a picture of us, THE SCHOOL SUSPENDED HER because of how she drew us!” 

After asking followers for information on the girl and her mother so that she could reach out to them, the girl’s school contacted Bunnie and asked her to remove the posts, denying that she had ever been suspended. 

However, according to the girl’s mother, that was not the case, claiming that her daughter’s school had mistreated her in the past and refused to step in and help when she was being severely bullied by other students. 


"Now that my husband & I have stepped in, the school is saying the child is lying. This honestly breaks my heart & my husband & I’s intentions behind this is to drop merch w the child’s picture she drew & give all the proceeds to that family,” Bunnie added. 

“I truly want to make a difference for this little girl & all the little girls/boys who were like me that weren’t allowed to talk about being bullied.” 

The girl’s project teaches all of us a valuable life lesson. It is never too late to change your life for the better. 

People have the capacity to learn, grow, and adapt throughout their lives, regardless of age or circumstances. They can bounce back from setbacks, failures, and disappointments, using these experiences as opportunities for growth, learning, and self-improvement.


Jelly Roll has made some mistakes in the past, but he should never be denied the success he's had since then. 

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.