Free haircuts boost students' confidence at Henry County school

Finding your way in middle school is tough, but it can be even more of a challenge if you don't feel confident about the way you look.

A Henry County teacher noticed her students were wearing hoodies in the classroom, which is against the school dress code.

When she found out why she decided to do something about it. 

Woodland Middle School students have faced a year of challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But what teacher Rasheta Johnson didn't expect was to find out about another challenge her students were facing.

"The expectation is that the kids do not wear their hoods in school," Johnson said. "When I'm asking the kids to take their hoods off, some of the boys especially, but the boys are like 'I need a haircut.'"

So Johnson went to Woodland Middle School Counselor Jeff Miller about the issue.

"She emailed me and asked me if I knew some barbers who could come out to the school and cut some of the gentleman's hair," Miller said.

Not long after, two barbers came in to offer their services free of charge for any middle school student who needed a haircut.

"The transformation of their haircuts was awesome. It was wonderful. The guys were happy," barber Desmond Jackson said. "These young guys, they like real crispy sharp edge-ups. Their appearance is everything in middle school."

"They kinda come in, not really talking, not really speaking with you," barber Phillip Louissaint said. "After we get off the chair and they're good to go, they're like 'Oh this is nice. It's clean! Thank you so much.'"

Johnson says the transformation hasn't just been in her students' appearances.

"They didn't wear their hoods. The quality of work was better," she said. "They came into the classroom with hood off, ready to actually work."

It was a small act - just a free haircut - but it gave her students some fresh confidence.

School officials tell FOX 5 this isn't the last time they'll offer free haircuts.

They're working on a partnership with one of the elementary schools to offer haircuts before the next school year.

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