Five-year-old Priscilla Perez recently got her hair chopped from shoulder length to a pixie cut and has endured severe bullying ever since. Shortly after her mom cut her hair, Priscilla’s peers started calling her a boy and ridiculing her new style.
Disheartened, the kindergartener at Meador Elementary School in Willis, Texas, began wearing hoodies and hats to school every day to hide her hair.
Eventually, she opened up to her teacher, Shannon Grimm, about the struggles she’d been facing and expressed that she wishes her hair was long. Grimm was appalled that this once lively girl now hated school because she was being bullied for her appearance.
While Grimm knew she couldn’t help Priscilla magically grow hair, she recognized that there was a larger lesson to be learned here for the whole class. She decided to take a stand.
One day after winter break, the teacher walked in with a cropped hairdo of her own, along with a bow to match Priscilla. She even made matching bows for them to wear every day of the week in order to help the 5-year-old feel more comfortable and confident in the classroom.
“That bow represents strength, family, someone (who) has her back,” said Grimm, who shared that Priscilla frequently reminds her when it’s time for the two to put on the hair accessories.
“I told them, ‘I think I look beautiful. Don’t you think I do?’” Grimm told TODAY. “I had to show them boys have long hair like girls and girls have short hair like boys.”
Though the decision to chop her waist-length locks was certainly not easy, she knew it was the right thing to do.
“I knew in my heart this is what I had to do,” said Grimm, adding that Priscilla was SO happy to have that kind of support.
“She was really excited. Her confidence went up,” she said.
Grimm hopes that her simple yet bold statement acts as an example for others to put kind words into action.
“In life, you’re always going to have somebody who’s not nice to you. But it’s all about what you do and how you react,” she said. “I’m going to do other things for my friends in my classroom other than just teach them. I’m gonna show them the love and the support that they need in order to learn.”
It seems Grimm’s act has already had a major impact on little Priscilla, who now wants to show the same love to her own friends:
“’When I get big like you, I will have friends who will be mean to me, but I will be nice to them just like you.”