Demand Accountability for Teacher that Cut a Disabled Student’s Hair Without Permission

Target: Principal Christopher Smith of Millbridge Elementary School

Goal: Resolve situation where student’s hair was cut without parental permission

A teacher’s assistant cut a seven-year-old student’s hair with Down Syndrome while she was at school. The young girl was devastated and the mother was hurt and upset. Tell the school district to hold the assistant accountable and to find a way to make it up to this little girl.

Jesslyn Stirewalp is a beautiful, fun-loving and sweet young girl. She attends Millbridge Elementary in North Carolina. Like most little girls, she loved her long hair. Many times she would stand in front of the mirror looking at her hair and play with it. That all changed when an assistant teacher cut her hair without the parent’s permission. The assistant called Jesslyn’s mother to to let her know that she had cut her daughter’s hair about four inches because she had gotten food in it.

When her daughter came home, Ms. Jessica Stirewalp was shocked, saying that approximately eight inches had been cut off. Her young daughter was sad and scared, thinking she was in trouble. The mother then received a contrary letter from the teacher stating that it had been cut because the little girl kept taking her hair down.

Whatever reason the assistant cut the hair is no excuse. School faculty should never put their hands on a student, unless it is to protect the child or to help a student out. It is wrong and outrageous to consider cutting the hair of a child that is not your own and without parental consent, especially when one is an educator. Special care and consideration should also be automatic when dealing with a special-needs child.

Sign the petition below and tell the school district to hold the teacher’s assistant accountable and to find a way to make it up to little Jesslyn.


Dear Principal Christopher Smith,

Millbridge Elementary School is a good school and has a fairly good academic reputation. Unfortunately, your overall reputation was tarnished when a teacher’s assistant cut a student’s hair without the parent’s permission. Please rectify this situation by attempting to reach out to the little girl and her family.

When a parent leaves a child at school, they expect a certain level of professionalism and behavior from the educators. Having a teacher’s assistant cut your child’s hair without your permission is unacceptable and harmful. It calls into question your school’s ability to provide a safe and healthy learning environment. The assistant who did this should maybe undergo some additional training or sensitivity classes.

The mother was also given two conflicting explanations as to why her child’s hair was cut. There is no good reason to cut a student’s hair and it is an accepted universal rule to keep one’s hands off another person’s child. Millbridge elementary school should find a way to make it up to this little girl, either by giving her her favorite toy or maybe giving her a special outing with family.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Jessica Stirewalp via abc NEWS

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