The teacher of a child who was teased for her short hair chopped off her hip-length locks to be “twins” with her student.
Five-year-old Prisilla Perez, a student at Meador Elementary School in Willis, Texas, was unhappy with her recent haircut, which was prompted by a severe case of lice, according to Houston television station KTRK. Her kindergarten teacher, Shannon Grimm, sympathized with her unhappiness.
“Prisilla started wearing a hat to school that covered her neck and ears, and she refused to take it off,” Grimm, 31, a mother of three, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I didn’t push the issue, but after a few weeks, she felt comfortable saying that she wanted her long hair back.”
When students started calling Prisilla a boy, she felt worse, often crying and losing focus in school. Grimm and Prisilla’s mom were concerned, but their ideas didn’t work. “We had classroom discussions about how girls have short hair and boys have long hair, and I showed them photos of movie stars with different looks,” Grimm tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “It wasn’t sinking in.”
Grimm thought about Prisilla throughout winter break, and one morning, she had an idea: Cut off her hair — a scary thought for Grimm, who wore her hair long and took pride in it. “I’ve never had short hair, and I stressed about it for two weeks before making a decision,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
On Jan. 4, Grimm invited a hairstylist friend to her home. “I didn’t want to be surrounded by mirrors in a salon,” she says. “I told him to keep going, even if I cried.”
The kindergarten class loved their teacher’s new ‘do, especially Prisilla, who excitedly ran off the school bus that afternoon yelling, “Mom, Ms. Grimm cut her hair!” The teacher also bought matching bows for her and the girl — who call themselves “Tinkerbell” — so they could style their hair together.
“Prisilla is a different person now, and the kids love her hair, too,” Grimm tells Yahoo Lifestyle. She’s promised to keep her hair short this year, or at least until Prisilla’s grows out.
In February, the teacher nominated Prisilla for the school district’s Student of the Month award, but during the Monday ceremony, she received a surprise “hero medal” from the girl. “Now we have matching awards,” says Grimm.
Prisilla’s mother, Maria Vasquez, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that Grimm’s thoughtfulness brought her to tears. “I was shocked, I was crying, I couldn’t believe it — she did something I wouldn’t have the guts to do. I will never forget that.”
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