She knows that what she did was right
These days, it’s not uncommon to know somebody who gets their head shaved to either raise money for charity or donate the hair to be made into wigs. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation has been holding head-shaving events around the US for 18 years. In 2017 alone, they raised $36,633,131 for childhood cancer research. Other organizations such as Locks of Love, Wigs for Kids, and Pantene Beautiful Lengths have collected the hair of tens of thousands of people to give children with hair loss due to cancer treatment a free or affordable wig.
With all of the attention that’s being paid to making charitable donations to childhood cancer organizations, one would believe that schools would give their students a pass to get involved. One teen girl made a sacrifice to help a child in need and was summarily punished for it.
Niamh Baldwin is the average 14-year-old girl from Penzance, Cornwall in England, but she made herself stand out from the crowd when she shaved her head completely bald in order to donate her blonde locks to the child wig-making organization The Little Princess Trust. She was happy to let go of all of her hair just to be able to provide an ill child with some comfort.
She told UNILAD, “I’ve been thinking about shaving my hair for the best part of a year now. It upsets me that at 14 years of age, I’ve had hair my whole life, yet there are young children aged less than 10-years-old without hair.” Over the holiday break, she made the big decision and donated her hair.
Niamh and her family were happy with the kind act, but her school wasn’t okay with it.
For the Kids
When Niamh returned to class at Mounts Bay Academy, she was immediately placed in the disciplinary “isolation” room for having hair that was one centimeter too short to fit the rules. Niamh tried to tell the administrators that she did it for charity, but they felt like she was breaking the rules and needed to be kept away from other students, completing her homework in a room by herself and being told to wear a headscarf.
Despite being punished, Niamh knew that she wasn’t doing something wrong. She continued, “To be honest, with the way the school reacted, they made me feel as if I’d done a bad thing. I knew I hadn’t, but I was being punished for a charitable act.”
As Niamh’s story spread across news outlets, the school was asked to explain why Niamh was punished for helping out a charitable organization. The school’s principal Sara Davey defended her decision to isolate the student, saying that the rules are “very clear.”
“Extreme haircuts including head shaving have never been allowed and this is common for schools across the UK. All students know this is the school policy and they also know the consequence is to complete school work in the inclusion room until the hair grows so that it’s no longer extreme,” she stated to Cornwall Live.
She added that Niamh knew the rule before she shaved her head and could have easily contacted the school to figure out an alternative way to raise money for the charity.
Niamh’s mother Anneka believes that the school is discriminating against her daughter for simply doing something “courageous and amazing.” She said in a post on Facebook that she is as proud of her daughter’s sacrifice as she is disappointed by the school’s response.
“Niamh has always had outstanding reports and feedback from all her teachers and everyone I know and she meets always say she’s an amazing polite and lovely girl. This doesn’t change because of a hair style and to me it’s discrimination! I’m actually fuming,” wrote Anneka.
The Little Princess Trust’s manager Monica Glass was careful not to vilify Mounts Bay Academy for their decision while still expressing how grateful the organization is for all of the donations they receive. She told MailOnline, “We try to steer our hair donors away from actually shaving their heads, as to donate one’s hair is already such a huge sacrifice. We also ask those who are under 16 and who are thinking about donating their hair, to obtain permission from their parent/guardian beforehand.”
Niamh is happy with her decision and has been praised by people the world over. Commenters in other countries pointed out the fact that their schools actually hold head-shaving events in order to raise funds for cancer organizations.
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