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A Lesson About Empathy

This Principal Shaved His Head In Front Of The Entire School To Teach Them A Lesson About Empathy

“We need each other at the end of the day.”

When 11-year-old Jackson Johnston found out that his grandpa, Rick Wilkerson, had been diagnosed with a rare and incurable form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, he decided to shave his long blonde hair to show his support for him.

Jackson told NBC News, “I\’ve always wanted to be like him. Knowing that I made him feel good [by shaving my head] when he didn\’t feel that well meant a lot to me.”

However, when Jackson debuted his newly shaved head, his classmates at Pekin Middle School in Packwood, Iowa, teased him about his hairstyle. After the sixth-grader\’s mom spoke to the school\’s principal, Tim Hadley, about the hurtful comments, Hadley called an assembly the next day.

To make an important point about being kind to others, Principal Hadley shaved his head in front of the entire school.

In the video of the assembly, Principal Hadley explained to the students that hurtful comments about Jackson\’s hair didn\’t sit well with him. He said, “I\’m very proud of you, Jackson, that\’s an amazing step, that\’s very bold to do that.”

He then asked people to raise their hands if they know anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer. When most of the room raised their hands, Principal Hadley said, “For us to judge somebody else\’s reaction to that is wrong, and we can do better. In standing up for Jackson and showing my support for his grandpa Rick, I\’ve offered to let Jackson shave my head today.”

As Principal Hadley gets his hair shaved, the school cheers him and Jackson on.

Principal Hadley told WTXF, “I expect more from our students. I expect support and for us to be there for one another,” he added, “Because you know, we need each other at the end of the day.”

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