One Iowa principal is changing school rhetoric, one bald head at a time.
When Pekin Middle School sixth-grader Jackson Johnston shaved his hair off to support his grandpa, who has cancer, he was teased by his classmates, ABC News reports.
According to Johnston's mom, the kids called him names like "bald boy" and asked him why he'd want to cut his hair like a cancer patient.
"Some of his friends came up to him and asked, 'Hey, do you have cancer?'" Pekin Middle School principal Tim Hadley said to Inside Edition.
Johnston told his mom later on that it was the worst day of his life, so she contacted school administration.
Hadley knew he could just punish the kids who ridiculed Johnston, but instead wanted to "turn it into a life lesson rather than just having a one-time conversation."
Which is why Hadley decided to call a school assembly the next morning, so Johnston could shave his head.
"My big goal wasn't the act of shaving, but rather, I wanted to show the kids that it's important to stand up for each other and support one another," Hadley said.
Faculty "thought their boss was a little crazy," but the show of acceptance and kindness went a long way.
Johnston reportedly told his friends it was the best day he'd ever had, and a few of the students even apologized to him.
The impact, however, wasn't limited to Johnston. The assembly raised cancer awareness among the children.
"I've had countless kids stop and say, 'You know, my grandma is going through this,'" Hadley said. "We're all going through something."
Additionally, it taught students the importance of choosing to be nice.
"I said, 'Let's think about it. Are my words going to build others up, or take them down?'" Hadley said. "And I said, 'I hope all of you choose to build.'"
It's clear that Pekin Middle School is built on one solid foundation, thanks to incredible leadership. May Hadley set an example for generations of young students to come.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Flickr, Mr.TinDC