Rowan County, NC – 7-year-old Jesslyn loves her long, brown hair. According to her mother, she is constantly brushing it, playing with it, and staring at herself in the mirror, announcing that her hair is “pretty.”
That is, she did until last week, when her teacher cut an alleged 8 inches of hair off the girl’s head … without asking Jesslyn’s mother’s permission! Seriously? How is it that a teacher would believe that they have the authority to cut a student’s hair, at school, without asking the parents?
Jesslyn, who has Down’s Syndrome, was extremely upset by the incident, says her mother. “She doesn’t even get in front of the mirror anymore,” her grandmother, Mary Poole, told WSCOTV News.
The trouble all started when Jesslyn’s mother, Jessica Stirewalp, received a call from staff at school, saying that Jesslyn got some food in her hair. Jesslyn is 7 years old and things like that happen when you’re 7 years old and can’t keep your hair out of your eyes, no matter how many times your mother reminds you. But instead of using some soap and water, Jesslyn’s teacher cut her hair. The teacher reportedly called Jessica, saying “I hope you don’t mind, but I cut your daughter’s hair because she got food in it.” When Jessica asked how much hair she cut, the teacher said about 4 inches.
So imagine Jessica’s surprise when Jesslyn arrived home from school with nearly 8 inches of hair missing from her little head, and a note saying that her hair wasn’t cut because of stray food, but because Jesslyn “would not quit taking her hair down … so when I went to fix her hair, I trimmed it up. I hope you don’t mind.”
8 inches is definitely not a trim. More troubling is the fact that the teacher thought it was okay to change the child’s appearance without understanding the emotional impact it would have on the special needs girl.
Jessica informed her local news to report the situation, as she was troubled by the actions at Millbridge Elementary, and the school’s response to her concerns.
When contacted by local news, Millbridge Elementary had no comment on the situation. You can watch a video of the story here.