A middle school principal gave an unforgettable lesson on acceptance when he let a sixth grader shave his head in a show of solidarity with the boy's cancer-stricken grandfather.
"At the end of the day, none of us do this alone," Principal Tim Hadley told InsideEdition.com. "Everybody's fighting something."
In a video posted to Facebook this week, Hadley had his head shaved by 11-year-old Jackson Johnston, who shaved his own head last Sunday to support his grandfather, who is battling a rare form of lymphoma.
But even though Jackson's family was proud of his decision, the kids at school were not as supportive.
"Some of his friends came up to him and asked, 'Hey, do you have cancer?' or 'Hey, baldy,'" Hadley said.
That evening, the boy told his mom about "the worst day he's ever had," Hadley recalled. She then contacted the school.
"When she said those words, I really felt personally responsible," he said. "Obviously I can't control everything everybody says, but I felt like I had an obligation and a duty to teach culture and teach life rather than just policy."
He went home that evening and considered different punishments for the students involved, but then realized this could be a teachable moment. So he called Jackson's mom and asked her to send him to school with the clippers she had used to cut his hair.
The following day, Hadley called a special assembly and brought Jackson to the front of the room.
"I said, 'I'm really proud of you for what you did,'" he explained. "'I think it takes a lot of maturity and I think it takes a lot of pride and a lot of boldness to do what you did and I want to support you.'"
Hadley then asked if the boy would be willing to shave his head for the cause as well.
"He thought about it, and said, 'Yeah, let's do it,'" Hadley said. "[Other students] were supporting him, and they were cheering and clapping and saying, 'Hey you can do it!' But once I clicked them on, I think he changed his mind. He was like, 'Are you sure?'"
Sure enough, Hadley could be seen in the video having his head shaved by the sixth grader.
Even though he said his staff at the school "thought their boss was a little crazy," everyone was supportive of the decision.
Jackson even later told his friends that it was "the best day I've ever had," Hadley said.
But the simple action of cutting his hair did more than just turn a student's frown upside down. Hadley said the gesture was able to start a discussion surrounding cancer at their school.
"I've had countless kids stop and say, 'You know, my grandma is going through this,'" he said. "We're all going through something. When I saw those kids encouraging and cheering him on, I knew at that moment that I had made the right decision."