Home U.S An 8th grader wouldn't take off his hat. Instead of sending him...

An 8th grader wouldn't take off his hat. Instead of sending him home, the principal helped fix his haircut.

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INDIANAPOLIS — Like at many schools across the county, students at Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School on the east side of Indianapolis can’t wear hats in the classroom.

So when an 8th grade student was sent to principal Jason Smith’s office last week for refusing to take off his hat, Smith asked the natural question: Why not? 

“He just let me know his parents got him a haircut recently, but he didn’t like how it came out,” Smith said. “I’m assuming he just didn’t want kids to laugh at him.”

Instead of sending the student home, Smith pulled out his phone. He showed the boy photos of his son, whose hair he regularly cuts, and let the boy know he was no novice with a pair of clippers. Smith had been cutting hair for years and used to give his teammates haircuts before their high school and college basketball games.

Jason Smith, the principal at Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School, cuts a student's hair Feb. 18, 2021.

He offered to fix the boy’s hairline. The boy and his parents agreed and Smith went home for his clippers. 

“I came back and lined him up, and he went on to class,” Smith said. Cutting hair “ended up being a useful skill.”

Lewis Speaks Sr., the school’s resource officer, called last week’s incident “a touching moment” but said actions like that are not unusual in the school.

A couple weeks before the haircut incident, Speaks said a 5th grade student had walked into the principal’s office complaining about his shoes. The soles were ripping off, and Speaks said Smith gave the student a new pair to wear.

“He doesn’t really like the publicity,” Speaks said of Smith. “But it’s definitely not out of the normal for him to do such a gesture.” 



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