Entertainment And News

Principal Shaves Head In Solidarity With 11-Year-Old Student Bullied For Supporting His Grandpa

Photo: Des Moines Register
principal shaves head to support bullied student

Moral support for those dealing with difficult times goes a long way. One student from Pekin Middle School and his principal know this all too well. 

Their actions touched the hearts of many people in their community, and now they are forever bonded by their acts of kindness. 

The little boy shaved his head in support of his grandfather who was diagnosed with cancer. 

In 2017, 11-year-old Jackson Johnston and his grandfather, whom he called “Papa Rick” were the best of friends. The two embarked on boating adventures, golf outings, and sports events. 

When Papa Rick was diagnosed with Stage 4 mantle cell lymphoma, Jackson took the news hard, and so did his grandfather, aware that he would lose his hair as a result of treatment. 

"He knew that Papa Rick was kind of down in the dumps about losing his hair,” Jackson’s mother, Amber, told NBC News. 

RELATED: Adopted Girl Tells Mom What 'Happened To Her Heart' The First Time She Saw Her New Family

“He is always styling his hair and has it looking really nice so he knew that Papa was really bothered by that.” 

Determined to support Papa Rick as he began chemotherapy, Jackson decided to shave his own head so that his grandfather would feel less alone. 

"He told his Papa, ‘you won’t be alone. You won’t be the only one losing your hair. You won’t be the only bald one in the family,’” Amber said. 

Jackson surprised Papa Rick with his new do one morning, who was moved to tears by his grandson’s actions. 

 “Hey, Papa, I thought we could start a new club for shaved heads,” Jackson told his grandfather. 

“I’ve always wanted to be like him. Knowing that I made him feel good when he didn’t feel that well meant a lot to me,” the little boy added. 

RELATED: Mom Beats Up Mother Of Daughter's Bully & Plans To Do It Everyday Until Bullying Stops

However, when Jackson returned to school with his shaved head, he was bullied by his classmates. 

“Right off the bat, I got two mean comments at the table — ‘baldy’ and ‘you look like you have cancer.’ I got really mad at first, but then I got really sad throughout the day,” Jackson said. 

Amber was heartbroken by her son’s revelation when he returned home from school. “He was so excited the day before to go down and show Papa, ‘hey look what I did for you, we are going to start a club,’ so him coming home being so sad was really upsetting,” she said. 

In hopes to alleviate her son’s sadness, Amber decided to reach out to Jackson’s principal, Tim Hadley, to alert him of the bullying and ask if he could talk to his classmates. 

However, when Hadley learned that poor Jackson was being bullied over his act of kindness toward his grandfather, he decided to go above and beyond to support him. 

RELATED: Eminem Sued By His Childhood Bully After Calling Him Out In A Song & Detailing His Vicious Attack

Principal Hadley asked Jackson to shave his own head in front of his classmates. 

Hadley asked Amber to send Jackson to school the next day with his hair clippers. To Jackson’s complete surprise, his principal had gathered the entire school for an assembly to honor the sixth-grader’s selflessness. 

“I’m very proud of you, Jackson, that’s an amazing step, it’s very bold to do that,” Hadley praised Jackson. 

RELATED: Mother Makes Teen Daughter Sleep Outside In The Cold After Taunting Homeless Man

During the assembly, Hadley gave Jackson the important task of shaving his head so that he too, could stand in solidarity beside Papa Rick. 

He also wanted to get a significant message across to his students. “I think we look at social media and we see this perfect person behind it. That person could be broken and we project one image and some of us live another,” Hadley shared. 

 “So exactly right before we pass that comment, make that judgment, let's take a serious at what the other person is and try on their shoes for a little bit.” 

Hadley’s words strongly resonated with some of Jackson’s classmates. 

“Just don’t judge a book by its cover, because there could be a deeper story,” one student claimed. 

As for Jackson, he plans on sticking by Papa Rick’s side through his entire cancer battle. 

“I am going to keep my head shaved until he goes into remission and if he doesn't finish the battle against cancer I am going to keep my head shaved until I die,” he promised. 

RELATED: Dad Makes 16-Year-Old Daughter Shave Her Head After She Bullies A Girl With Cancer

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