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Kindergarten teacher gets same haircut as bullied student: 'I'm here for her'

TODAY logo TODAY 2/17/2019 Drew Weisholtz
a group of people posing for the camera: Teacher and student now share a haircut and matching hair accessories. © Willis ISD Teacher and student now share a haircut and matching hair accessories.

Shannon Grimm is the kind of teacher who goes the extra mile for her students.

As a kindergarten teacher at Meador Elementary School, in Willis, Texas, she recently cut her hair short after one of her students was getting teased by classmates for her own cropped hairstyle.

Priscilla Perez, 5, had endured the situation for some time so, during winter break, Grimm decided to take a stand.

a little girl posing for a picture: Shannon Grimm and Priscilla Perez © Willis ISD Shannon Grimm and Priscilla Perez

The students were blown away by their teacher’s new look once they returned to school, and Grimm used it as a teachable moment.

“I told them, ‘I think I look beautiful. Don’t you think I do?’” Grimm, 31, told TODAY Style. “I had to show them boys have long hair like girls and girls have short hair like boys.”

The decision to chop her own hair wasn't an easy one, and Grimm said she wrestled with whether she was ready to say goodbye to her long locks. But, ultimately, she felt this was an opportunity to make a statement.

“I knew in my heart this is what I had to do,” she said.

a person holding a sign posing for the camera: TODAY, product courtesy of merchant site © Willis ISD TODAY, product courtesy of merchant site

And how did Priscilla respond to her teacher's new hair?

“She was really excited. Her confidence went up,” Grimm said.

The kindergarten teacher, who is in her second year at the school, hopes her gesture can be used as an example in the future.

“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.

a person posing for the camera: TODAY, product courtesy of merchant site © Willis ISD TODAY, product courtesy of merchant site

Those words seem to already resonate with Priscilla.

“'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,'” Grimm said Priscilla told her.

In addition to getting the haircut, Grimm also went out and purchased matching bows for them to wear, which she keeps in her classroom.

a group of people sitting at a table: TODAY, product courtesy of merchant site © Willis ISD TODAY, product courtesy of merchant site

“That bow represents strength, family, someone (who) has her back,” she said, adding that Priscilla will often remind her when it's time to put on the accessories.

It’s become a bonding experience between the two, which Grimm loves.

“I’m going to keep wearing the bow,” she said. “I am here for her.”

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