Tim Hadley, principal of Pekin Middle School in Packwood, Iowa recently shaved his head in front of the entire school to support a child who was bullied after shaving his own head.
The child, Jackson Johnston, is a sixth grade student who shaved his head as a show of solidarity and support for his grandfather who has been battling cancer.
When Jackson attended school the day after he shaved his head, the other students gave him a hard time.
“There were many people who came up and said rude comments. I was going to my first class and I had someone come up to me and say, ‘well you look like you have cancer’; I said actually I’m not the one who has cancer, I did this because my grandpa has cancer,” Jackson said.
Jackson’s grandfather (“Papa”) is fighting a rare form of lymphoma. Although he has not lost his hair yet, Jackson wanted to surprise him and show his support.
When Principal Tim Hadley heard that Jackson was being bullied after trying to support his grandfather, he decided to take matter into his own hands.
“For me as a principal, I thought there’s a couple ways I could handle this. I could come in and bring in the individuals that made comments and we can talk about it. We could do suspensions, detentions, and all the things that our handbook says to do,” Hadley said.
Principal Hadley decided to try a different tactic. Hadley held a school assembly where he instructed Jackson to shave his head in front of the entire school.
“my mother had thyroid cancer, my mother in law had uterine cancer, my grandfather didn’t finish his battle against cancer. It was something that resonated deeply with me,” Hadley said. “I know so many people that have gone through what Jackson’s going through. To be a young man and find out that a family member has potentially a life threatening illness, it’s a difficult thing to handle.”
Jackson really appreciates the support from his principal. There are no to many people that would have help out like that!
“He’s probably the number one principal ever,” Jackson said.