CHINA GROVE, N.C. (CBS Charlotte) – A Rowan County mother became furious with a teacher at Millbridge Elementary School after the educator cut off a portion of her daughter’s hair without her permission.
The trouble began when 7-year-old Jesslyn Stirewalp, who has Down Syndrome, allegedly got food in her hair while at school.
“Most of the time, she’s always brushing her hair, always doing something with her hair,” her mother, Jessica Stirewalp, told WSOC-TV.
“She would look at it and she would say, ‘Pretty,’” Mary Poole, Jesslyn’s grandmother, added. “[Now] she doesn’t even get in front of the mirror anymore.”
Stirewalp told the station that she received a call about the incident from a teacher’s assistant on Friday.
“Her assistant teacher calls me and says, ‘I hope you don’t mind, but I cut your daughter’s hair because she got food in it,’” she told WSOC-TV. “Of course I got mad.
There was also confusion regarding the amount of hair cut off of Jesslyn’s head.
“I asked her how much, and she said 4 inches,” Stirewalp said. “It was [closer to] 8 inches. And when she walked in the house, you could tell that she thought she was in trouble.”
She added, “I mean, it hurts my feelings, and I know it hurts her feelings.”
The family reportedly received a letter from the school on the matter, which tells a slightly different story.
“The letter states [Jesslyn] would not quit taking her hair down [that] morning, so when [the assistant] went to fix her hair, [she] trimmed it up.” Poole said, additionally noting that the letter’s author hoped Jesslyn’s mother didn’t mind.
School district officials declined to comment on any matter involving a child when questioned by the station.