After a sixth child was bullied for shaving his head in support of his grandfather, who has cancer, the school’s principal stepped in and volunteered to lose his locks.
“It’s really struck me,” Tim Hadley, the director of Pekin High School in Packwood, Iowa, told WTXF. “He’s just a boy. He is already going through something with his grandfather.”
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Jackson, Johnston, 11, used to have shaggy blonde hair with side sweep bangs, The Des Moines Register reported. When he called her in the support of his grandfather, Rick Wilkerson, students taunted him with comments like, “Hey kale!” and “You look like a cancer patient.”
Wilkerson, who goes by Papa Rick in the family, has an incurable mantle cell lymphoma, a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The average age of diagnosis is in the middle of the years ‘ 60 and it is more often diagnosed in men than in women, according to the Leukemia And Lymphoma Society.
Jackson’s mother, Amber Johnston, called Hadley to voice her concerns. The next day, Hadley called an impromptu meeting and asked Jackson to do the honors of shaving his head.
“I expect more of our students. I expect the support and for us to be there for one another,” Hadley told WTXF. “Because, you know, we need each other at the end of the day.”