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Principal Cuts Student's Hair to Remedy His Insecurity

Many middle-school boys have memories of barbershop haircuts. But for one boy, his most memorable cut happened elsewhere. Anthony Moore is a student at Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School, and like many boys his age, he occasionally struggles with his confidence. This explains why last February he was confronted to remove his hat, a choice that placed him in defiance of the school’s dress code.

Moore caught the attention of Jason Smith, the principal at Stonybrook. Smith said, “I sat across from him and asked, 'What's wrong? Why are you being defiant, why are you refusing to take your hat off? It's a pretty simple request. And he explained that his parents took him to get a haircut and he didn't like the results."

What Moore didn’t know is that his principal, Mr. Smith, moonlights as a barber. "I told him, 'Look, I've been cutting hair since I was your age,' and I showed him pictures of my son's haircuts that I did and some of me cutting hair in college. And I said, 'If I run home and get my clippers and fix your line, will you go back to class? He hesitated but then he said yes."

After getting his parents’ consent, Smith retrieved the clippers and fixed Moore’s haircut. Smith said, “He didn't say straight out, but I feel like he didn't want to be laughed at. The barbershop and haircuts as Black males are very important in the community and looking your best and being sharp--it's just a cultural aspect."

Smith said he followed up with Moore and verified that he was abiding by the rules, learning in the classroom, sans hat. Smith said, “All behavior is communication and when a student is struggling, we need to ask ourselves what happened to this child instead of what's wrong with the child. What need is the child trying to get met and really, the future of urban education rests on that question."

Possible Preaching Angles:

1) When we encounter someone in distress and we have an opportunity to meet that need, we honor God as Creator, both of the person with the need as well as the creator of the talent that could meet that need. 2) When we encounter rebellion, especially in a young person, we must look deeper than the superficial.

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