High school can be tough, and teens can be unnecessarily cruel just for the sake of a laugh, something Myckelle Williams saw firsthand when her 16-year-old daughter called her crying after bullies tore the wig from her head over a $5 bet.
Lauren "Lulu" Williams has had a lifelong struggle with eczema and psoriasis since she was a little girl. The condition causes her scalp to be extremely dry and prone to severe breakage, leaving bald spots which have heightened her insecurities.
Williams often wears wigs to help her feel more beautiful and comfortable around her peers.
"Lulu has a scalp condition that causes severe dryness and hair breakage and loss, and had been so ashamed of her appearance that she had taken to wearing wigs in an effort to still feel beautiful," her mom explained. "We all know how easy it is to feel insecure at age 16."
But instead of being compassionate and accepting, a group of students decided that they'd be vile.
As one student videotaped the incident which was later posted to Snapchat, a boy ran up to Williams and yanked off her wig.
But the torment didn't stop there.
Williams ran to the bathroom to hide and try to compose herself, but they followed her and tried to continue videotaping her by holding their phone over the stall door.
"My hair is, like, my one place where I can feel safe, and I loved having wigs to express myself," Williams explained in an interview with a local news station. "When they tore that off of me, I felt basically naked."
The entire ordeal was violent, evil, and completely unnecessary.
Williams' mom stated that she had to take the teen to the hospital due to abrasions and whiplash caused by the boy yanking her head so viciously.
Enraged, Williams' mom raced to social media to discuss the incident, highlighting the high rates of teen suicide due to bullying and encourage others to uplift and empower themselves.
She continued to post to her Facebook page to update her friends with developments surrounding the situation, stating that Williams had received hoards of well-wishes and uplifting messages, but that her daughter's bullies had still not been appropriately punished.
She also detailed that this was not Williams' first experience with bullying, citing that she attends a school that is majority white and believes Williams' race plays into her abuse.
"Lauren is only one of a handful of African American kids at her school. I have gone to the school repeatedly and my complaints were brushed off...," she wrote. "I kept telling her to let the administration know what was going on, but they kept minimizing her complaints."
Outpours of support for Williams have come far and wide, and her story was soon viral.
But justice seemed to be out of reach when Williams wrote on her Facebook page that the bullies had still yet to be appropriately punished, explaining that one of them had even gone as far as to call the police to file charges against Williams, saying that her story going viral has made him fear for his life.
"Where was that worry when my daughter was screaming in the bathroom stalls for help and compassion while everyone laughed including her so called friends," the post reads. "So I turned around and filed charges against him too. Today Franklin High School's phone are BLOWING up and people want to know what is being done about this??? How are they dealing with the bullying problem besides brushing it under the rug."
Williams' older sister also took to social media to discuss the issue, encouraging her followers to call the school demanding justice.
Tomorrow, these kids will go to school and laugh like nothing ever happened on Friday. They’re going to go to school with $5.00 extra like Lauren’s humiliation put them UP in their social status, and since (OBVIOUSLY) I don’t have self control enough to go up there myself and face these bullies without being placed in jail or solitary confinement behind what they did to my baby- ?????? I encourage everyone to step up and call the school! If you’re in TN, visit the school. These children haven’t received ANY type of discipline... meanwhile half my baby hair was ripped from her scalp and she has whiplash behind how hard he snatched her wig off for a Snapchat video labeled “Wig snatching” the saddest part is that her “ best friend who stood there and laughed with the bullies and didn’t do anything about it. Smh... Let’s Please handle this gracefully ???? PLEASE NO MORE VIOLENCE!!! MAKE LOVE, not War!!! #saynotoshame #justiceforlulu
Finally, on Monday, Williams and her mom received news about the bullies' punishment, and it was not what they were expecting.
They had been given a few days of in-school suspension, and Williams was outraged. Once again, she took to social media to express her anger, now stating that her family was seeking legal action hoping to charge the boys with assault.
Although the ordeal seems to be far from over for Williams, she has decided to turn the situation into a positive experience.
Instead of reverting back to covering up her insecurities with a wig, Williams shaved her head hoping to flip the humiliating moment into one of self-love and inspiration.
"When I walk around with a bald head, he'll know that he didn't do anything but give me more power to speak out to other people," Williams stated.
They may have ripped her wig off, but she showed them that she didn't need it anyway.