Jason Smith, a principal in a school near Indianapolis, recently had a student sent to his office for refusing to remove his hat in the classroom. Smith, a man on a mission to change the culture of his school, spent time with the student to understand what was going on. The student was uncomfortable with his new haircut and was afraid he would be laughed at in class. Smith had experience cutting hair and happened to have a pair of professional clippers handy; he offered to give the boy a fresh haircut if the boy would go back to class. The deal was struck and the problem solved. Smith said, “We’re not disciplining with a hard fist. You could call and have the parent pick the kid up for defiance, or you can sit down and get to the root of the problem and see what can I do to help? What do you need right now?”

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