BY KAITLYN ALANIS
Her student, 5-year-old Prisilla Perez, was a “happy little girl” before her hair was cut short, according to a Facebook post by the Willis Independent School District in Texas. But then she started “acting more quiet and sad, and she didn’t want to come to school anymore.”
She also started wearing a hat to cover up her short hairstyle, Good Morning America reported.
Prisilla’s teacher, Shannon Grimm, noticed that she was acting differently, KTRK reported, and went out of her way to find out why.
“Friends started to call her a boy, and those words cut deep,”
Grimm said, according to the Texas TV station.
When Grimm realized one of her 5-year-old students was being bullied and teased, she “took matters into her own hands to restore Prisilla’s confidence…” the school district posted to Facebook.
During winter break, Grimm chopped her waist-long hair off, according to KTRK. Photos posted by the school district show Prisilla and her teacher with the same short hairstyle.
Then Grimm showed up to school one day with her new hair, according to Good Morning America.
“I told them, ‘I think I look beautiful. Don’t you think I do?’”
Grimm, 31, told Today.
“I had to show them boys have long hair like girls and girls have short hair like boys.”
While some of her students thought it looked pretty, others said,
“You look like a boy,”
the teacher recalled, according to GMA.
“And I said, ‘No I look beautiful. Don’t I look beautiful?’”
Grimm told Today that she was able to use her haircut as a teaching moment that also helped Prisilla’s confidence.
“I am going to do other things for my friends in the classroom besides teach them,”
Grimm said, according to KTRK.
“I am going to show them the love and support that they need to learn.”
The school district said Grimm also bought her and Prisilla matching hair bows that they now wear every day.
“That bow represents strength, family, someone (who) has her back,”
Grimm said, according to Today.
“I’m going to keep wearing the bow. I am here for her.”
“Grimm nominated Prisilla for the district student of the month award for her bravery during a difficult time,”
the district said, and Prisilla was honored on Feb. 11.
“In a surprise twist, Prisilla presented her teacher with a medal for being her hero,”
the district said.
“Congratulations to TWO very deserving individuals!”
“I would definitely do it again,”
Grimm said, according to GMA.
“In Prisilla’s eyes, this is everything to her. And to my students, who learned such a valuable
lesson of looking on the inside of someone.”
Grimm asked Prisilla who is beautiful during a recorded interview with KTRK.
the 5-year-old said.
“Yeah, Prisilla’s beautiful,”
the teacher replied.
“You’re right, you are. You’re very beautiful.”