Skip to main content
Curly Nikki

SOS- CurlyNikki Care Package

By January 27th, 202145 Comments

SOS- CurlyNikki Care Package

Update 10.25.2009: Thanks again for the outpouring of support! I randomly selected 7 curlies (of the hundreds that responded) to send products/accessories/styling tools to the teacher. As for the rest of you divas…there will be plenty of other opportunities to donate to the cause! Thanks again…you guys are truly amazing 🙂

UPDATE 10.21.2009: You curlies are the real deal! I’ve received more than 70 emails from readers asking how they can contribute 🙂 Nothing short of amazing! I’m working with the teacher right now to see how we can organize this. I’ll be in touch soon!

A concerned, curly teacher writes:

Hi Nikki,

I love your site and I am an avid reader (maybe too much because if I am off task at work it is because I am on your site). I need your help and/or the help of your readers. I work at an elementary school and yesterday I encountered three little girls, all sisters, who had their hair chopped off by their father.

The youngest sister was sent to the office for insubordination because she refused to remove her hood in class. Upon arriving in the office I asked her to remove the hood and she refused and completely shut down. I phoned her mother to see if mom could talk to her and perhaps she could move on with her day. When mom couldn’t reach her, she sent the father to the school. The dad came into the office took the child’s jacket and told her that she needed to straighten up. I was dealing with another student and could only hear what was going on I never saw the child’s hair. Around thirty minutes later I received a call from the students homeroom teacher who said the child never showed up for class and that another student said she was in the bathroom crying. So, I headed up stairs when I found the young girl in the restroom crying. She was wearing another hood she borrowed from one of her older sisters. When she removed the hood I was finally able to see her hair. Underneath of the hood she had about 2 inches of a dry TWA. She burst into tears and all I could do was hug her and try to comfort her by telling her how beautiful she is. I stayed with her for awhile before going to check on her sisters.

The oldest sister was in class and she seemed to be fine. Her teacher however, is also natural and sports a TWA (that she has had for forty years) so, that may have helped. The middle sister was not in the room when I arrived to her class. Her teacher informed me that she asked to use the restroom but had not come back. I again went to check the restroom where I met the middle sister. She was visibly upset but not crying. She said that the other students were telling her that she looks like a man.

I was really at a lost as to what I should do. I mean I had shaved my head twice but, for me it was my choice. I also was an adult when I made the decision to do so, I didn’t have to face the ridicule of other children. I had three packages of headbands in the office so I gave each sister a pack and it seemed to cheer them up a little. I also told them that I would show them pics of my hair when I sported a TWA and buy them some hair products to use but, I feel like I am crossing the line. What line? Well, as educators we are to educate and not parent, but I feel so strongly about this situation. I want to help them learn how to take care of their hair but, at the same time I can barely afford my PJism let alone take on three other heads. Nikki! Please help!

Truly,
LuvMeLuvMyFro

Are ya’ll thinking what I’m thinking? I say we put together a care package, and send it to the teacher to give to the family. I hope their parents will be accepting? Can we do this without any ethical violations? I really want to help! If anyone is interested in donating a product or two, email me at nikki@curlynikki.com. I’ll gather all the goodies, box them up, and promptly ship it out to her. Between the new products, cute accessories, and positive role models such as this reader and the eldest sister’s teacher, hopefully the girls will be able to re-build their self-esteem.

Later Gators,
Nik

UPDATE:

Hey Nikki,

I called the mom of the girls this morning to ask why their hair was cut. She said it was cut off because the girls were not taking proper care of their hair, and that she didn’t know what to do with it. She said the only hairstyle she knows how to do is a French braid. I am not sure of mom’s ethnicity but she has a silkier hair texture. She said the youngest girl is very tender headed and hates to have her hair combed. She said she would gladly welcome hair advice, accessories, and products. She sounded relieved that someone cares that much about her children.

Truly,
LuvMeLuvMyFro

Alrighty chicas…looks like we’re still on track! Thanks to those of you that have emailed me asking to donate…I’ll be in touch at the end of the work day.

Later,
Nik

45 Comments

  • frouLaLa says:

    Wow, I cant believe I missed this story the first time around. I'll be sure to follow this story to contribute in any way that I can. I know it must be so hard for these girls in this day and age. How horrifying to have your hair cutoff like that! I'm down for the cause. Kudos Nik and your supportive community.

  • bellanaija says:

    Awww, Niks. This is why I luv your site! Keep up the good deeds!

  • Anonymous says:

    I like the HUD lady's idea. I'd volunteer time on a panel for moms and dads easily.

    What about say a school presentation? I remember people doing presentations on almost anything at my school. Could we do a natural beauty self esteem thing (Like dove does) for girls and boys (boys need to start finding natural hair sexy).

    A really helpful tool is if we make a natural hair video for white, black, asian and hispanic. Burning that onto DVD and giving each child would be a fair a cheap option.

    May be we can avoid crossing the line by speaking to the Parents Associations first and checking to see if they are interested.

  • Tracey says:

    This story has touched me deeply and I'm moved ever the more to help were ever possible. It's bad enough in todays time what kids go through let alone adding to that with cutting off their hair!! Please contact me I would love to send products and what I can contribute to helping the girls.

    tracey@beemineproducts.com

  • Jess says:

    I, too, would like to donate something. When you figure out how it will work I'm in.
    jessgibson81@yahoo.com

  • Maria says:

    My mom cut my sister's hair for the same exact reasons back in 1978. My sister was devastated and I just think its so unfair. How is cutting their hair the answer?

    I don't think its child abuse, but it is ignorance. I'm surprised the mom didn't relax their hair instead.

  • Kris says:

    This issue is very touching. Some cultures use hair cutting as a form of punishment for young girls. It's unfortunate and degrading when the person isn't apart of the decision. The mother has to educate herself over caring for her daughters hair…I mean it's going to grow back…is she going to cut it AGAIN! Many of us who had straight and relaxed hair most of our lives had to learn how to care for our natural texture as well. It's something that as women with textured hair we must do. Stripping a person of something so personal should never be a solution. In the mean time the girls need to regain their self esteem and receive love from the natural hair community. I have a Natural Hair Club in the Atlanta, GA area (www.lavendersjungle.com) we meet once a month as a support system to each other and we frequently try out products and teach proper hairstyle techniques. Most of us are in professional roles with large companies and even we face comments about choosing to be natural. I strongly encourage starting other clubs throughout the world to re-teach young girls what REAL beauty is. God gave the world a gift and that gift was The Black Woman. It’s time that others appreciate and celebrate that. With that being said, The ladies of Lavender's Jungle and I would like to donate a bottle of Carol's Daughter Magical Beauty Shampoo and Conditioner to this family. Nikki I think your site has a wealth of knowledge. I agree with the other blogger, you should print some information from your site and pass it along. Please email me the address we can send this to. kjoseph@lavendersjungle.com

    Relax your mind, not your curls!
    Kris J.

  • Anonymous says:

    I disagree with all comments stating that Luvmeluvmyfro has crossed professional boundaries. A lot of times parents don't know what to do so they do one of two things, drop the kid to have their hair fried every Saturday morning or they just cut it off. Unfortunately, this will lead to thin hair or a serious lack of self-esteem.

    I work for HUD and we see families of many different mixtures and we always do our best to link families with resources. One resource that we've been looking to find is one that will give hair tips and products. We have a lot of mixed children and some mothers/fathers just don't know what to do.

    I've had many parents come in and ask my staff to ask me what I use in my hair and ask for suggestions. Am I supposed to say, sorry, can't answer that, it's all about your subsidy right now? No, I love talking about hair and the products I use, why not share with them. Of course the discussion of hair comes after business is handled, but they leave with product names in hand.

    I think helping these young ladies will not only assist them in getting through the day, but in the long run, will help them to learn to love who they are. I will personally be making a package to send to Luvmeluvmyfro.

    Beso727

  • nellboogie says:

    I am down for whatever we decide…this is another instance of the "village" being called to action. 😀
    nellfaithfully@yahoo.com

  • EmberRose says:

    Those poor kids. I'll dig through our finances and see if I can't come up with something.

  • Anonymous says:

    People keep talking about preferential treatment, etc. I personally don't think this teacher is crossing the line. I mean, I'm assuming that she will first consult the parents before deciding how to get involved. Just to be on the safe side, why not refer the parents to websites such as CN and other natural hair blogs. Lol, I could go on all day about natural hair care tips…but at the end of the day, I've found that it's easier to refer transitioners to natural hair sites and if they have any further questions, I can answer them. Good luck sweetie!

  • Moni says:

    How about sending her parents a book on natural hair care? I've heard nothing but great things about Chris-Tia Donaldson's book, "Thank God I'm Natural". There are also books written specifically for parents. I haven't read any natural books, so I can't recommend any first hand.

    As for the whole situation, I completely agree with totallytwisted. How is cutting their hair any better or worse than burning their scalps with relaxer or pulling out their hair with extensions? Their parents could have done a better job helping the girls adjust to their new cuts and building their confidence, but this is faaaaaaaaar from child abuse. What happened to "it's just hair"?

  • Anonymous says:

    only ethical issue i see here is sharing so many personal details with a forum. the good news is we don't know their names, the state they live in nor the school they attend. but teachers help kids every day of the year. that's why they are there.

  • Cho Kawaii says:

    This story reminds me so much of my niece. she is being raised by her Caucasian maternal grandparents who legally adopted her from birth. They chopped her hair off for years claiming they didn't know what to do with it. It makes me wonder why these people are not willing to properly care for all aspects of their child's grooming needs.

  • curlychronicles says:

    this story really touched me, I really love that the teacher is going out of her way to help build a higher sense of self esteem in these girls. I'd love to donate a bottle of Giovanni Direct Leave in. Please let me know the shipping address for the donations 🙂

  • totallytwisted <3 says:

    Thankfully I never had a relaxer as a child, but seeing all these comments that are against the parents irritates me. How many of you have had parents who have relaxed and destroyed your hair to then have it be chopped off or have to wear braids. I"m just happy that the parents are open to suggestion how to grow it back healthy.

  • lovin' the natural Me! says:

    Hello Curly Nikki,

    I am one of the newly natural teacher at this school and I'm in love with my hair. I am personally going to purchase product for these girls. I remember when I made the big chop. My hair was literally 1" long. I shared my story with the youungest sibling and she was able to see how much my hair has grown from July to now. My goal is to inspire as many girls as I possibly can to love themselves for they naturally are. My 1 year old daughter was my inspiration for deciding to go natural. She has beautiful, thick hair and I want her to love herself naturally as well. Take Care!

  • Anonymous says:

    LuvMeLuvMyFro, you are all kinds of awesome! The mental support will have a great effect on those girls, you feel so much pressure to blend in with the masses in grade school, it is the hardest thing in the world to feel good because of being unique. Kids don't really deal well with traumatic experiences, right? I hope they don't have too much of that stuff going on at home :-/ If the mother is on board, I would think it would be best to deliver the items to her in stead of the children – it could potentially be less of a sticky situation.

  • FABianna says:

    I love this idea.

  • LuvMeLuvMyFro says:

    In January the school will start an enrichment program for students. The enrichment program is basically a bunch of different clubs and the students can choose what club they would like to attend on Friday afternoons for the last hour of school. It is not mandatory for students but I think it would be a great place to start. I actually just spoke with a newly natural teacher here and she is on board. There are three of us (natural staff members) here at the school so; I will ask if the other teacher would like to be involved.

  • superstahr says:

    I can't believe a parent would do something like this to their child, it makes me want to cry. I'm going to say a prayer for that family.

  • Unknown says:

    I agree with Raven. Maybe start an after school club and give participants in the club small individualized gift-baskets or care packages. That way you're reaching out to the girls but not in a way that singles them out. Maybe these specific girls were just the tip of the iceberg, maybe there's alot more girls at the school that need help too!

  • b. says:

    Two quick thoughts:

    Please, if you do a after school club or something with more girls besides the 3 sisters, try not to focus too much on hair only. Focusing on the source of the girls' embarrassment may make their situation worse. Focus on general beauty with hair as one component.

    Also, while natural hair is the preference of many here (and mine as well), if you start a club try not to demonize relaxers. You'd invite a protest from other moms if you do.

    Just my two thoughts. I'm sooo glad the mom is receptive to your overtures. I wish you all the best LMLMF!!!

  • Pat says:

    I don't have anything substantive to add except that I can't understand how "not taking proper care of their hair" could ever justify cutting the children's hair off involuntarily, to the drastic point where the children were NOTICEABLY DISTRAUGHT in school.

    Sounds borderline abusive to me.

  • Cygnet says:

    According to the update near the bottom of the post, the mom not only consents to receive products, accessories, and advice for caring for the girls' hair, she is actually relieved that someone else cares so much about the girls. So, while LuvMeLuvMyFro may not be able to do this directly, I am not aware of any reason why we must refrain from helping.

    In addition, I like the idea someone raised about starting a self-esteem club, and I think I know a couple of ways it may be done. LuvMe and the other TWA teacher can help the students start a club or meetup that would meet either on school grounds during a specific time or off school grounds in the community. Or they could do a series of v-logs discussing inner and outer beauty and circulate the links. For Black History month, they could introduce haircare pioneers and as a class project assign the students to bring in products produced by these people as a sort of show-and-tell, with the students preparing a brief talk about the person who produced the product they brought. They could also help the students start their own web site, forum, or blog in which everyone has space to discuss these things, with links on the net to student-friendly resources that will help them.

    Keep in mind that in most, if not all, school districts it is imperative that if there is anything involving students that is not part of the school board's mandated curriculum, it must be done by the students themselves, and if there is teacher involvement, then it must be in a coaching or advisory role, but the students still must be in charge, at least nominally. But if you can figure out ways to work within the guidelines of your school district, there's a lot that can be done to help.

  • b. says:

    Oh! Thanks for the update, CN! I'm glad to know the mom is receptive to information. Maybe you can include a list of helpful blogs/sites in the package…and maybe a good book.

  • b. says:

    I like what Raven said. These sisters have an obvious dilemma, but there are most likely many others @ the school with similar quandaries that are not as apparent.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'd like very much to help. Please let me know what you need.

    midaca37@yahoo.com

  • Anonymous says:

    I think it is a delicate situation. Direct suggestions as well as presents can be misunderstood, could upset ot could point out the problem even more. Right now the children want to hide.

    I like the idea of the teacher getting creative and proposing an activity that involves ALL the class, where there will be a hidden an undirect help. Something that can be related to a teached subject, but at the same time is playful.

    i.e: making colourful headbands and ties, making and reading poems about hair, using children's books, showing pictures that in some way encourage the three children, making a research about hair in different tribes or showing adverts (not only conditioners' adverts but they will be among them), analysing the perception of beauty in different eras and cultures, inventing jokes that hide suggestions, talking about "my favourite object" (of course the teacher's one will be a conditioner LOL) and things like that. Good luck!

    Valerie

  • Million says:

    I was thinking the same thinng as Alexis, if we could send pics of ourselves(mostly us with our natural hair, fro's) that it would make them feel better about themselves. I feel sorry for them, I can only think of the embarrassment they must feel at school in front of other children. Poor things. I have two products here that I can donate and maybe some conditioners I no longer use. Let me know, you know where to find me on gmail(weird email)

  • Me says:

    My hubby is a teacher and he tells me it is so hard these days not only educate, but mentor as well. How about this…perhaps the teacher can start a self esteem type club for girls either during recess time twice a week or after school.Part of the club could be giving out things such as headbands and cute accessories for outer beauty, but also teach inner beauty and self love. I know teachers deal with enough as it is, but maybe there are others in the area that would be willing to help facilitate this.

  • Anonymous says:

    I used to work in a school district in Texas before in a tutoring/teaching assistant capacity while in college. One thing that the district made sure of is that I knew what the rules were when I was hired. One thing that I was told was that No preferential treatment should be given to any student. This includes giving gifts or playing favorites. I don't know if this applies to all districts or all states and I can only guess at the reasons for this. It may be because of the effect that it has on the students not receiving the attention since it the girls may tell others (friends/classmates) what you did for them. It could be because the district wants to avoid a potential lawsuit in the event that a teachers' favoritism is misconstrued by others as being a little too "friendly". So you may want to look into the districts' policy on teachers giving gifts to students or speak to someone else at the school or district level who is more knowledgable of policy to see if giving them these products would be appropriate in this situation. Also, giving a student a gift regardless of the reason, can often be misinterpreted by some parents. They may think that, by giving these girls these products that you are pointing out that they are bad parents (I am really wanting to know why their hair was cut off like that in the first place. If it was just done to punish them or embarass them, I think that there may be more of an issue here then whether to provide them with hair care products.). Before giving these girls anything for their hair, I would definately suggest you maybe speak to the mother (since the father may not be as receptive to what you want to say) of these girls to be sure that it is okay to give them these products.

  • Anonymous says:

    I don't need to know why the dad did it or even if its ethical to send a care package. I have a daughter myself and I know how important having a positive self image is. Whatever I can do to help let me know.

    tdavis0057@yahoo.com

  • The First Lady says:

    That could have been me about 25 years ago. My cousin relaxed my hair and that's all she did. I had no idea how to maintain it. My Mom (not a licensed stylist) gave me a big chop with the house scissors after a month or 2 of breaking hair. For weeks I hid from school because I could not endure the comments of the other students who "Snapped On Me". It's interesting that I recalled this incident yesterday while reading CN's story.

    I wish I knew then what I know now. I say educate these beautiful young ladies and send them the care package. I wish someone had could have done this for me so long ago.

    First Lady

  • Alexis says:

    CN,
    In addition to products, it would be great if your readers with twa's could also include photos to include in the box. The sisters could hang these pictures on their bedroom walls and serve as inspiration once the hair products are long gone.

  • dajewel1982 says:

    Boujee, why would the daddy do that???? this just breaks my heart!!!!

    luckily, my daddy never did that to me. he also celebrated my hair! i know plenty of black men that take pride in doing their daughters hair. has anyone seen this article about the white man and his adopted ethiopian daughter's hair:

    http://blackgirllonghair.blogspot.com/2009/07/bglh-interview-with-white-dad-of.html

  • hippie girl says:

    I would definitely like to know WHY the father cut their hair. My own daughter has come back from a weekend at her fathers in tears because he has threaten to cut her hair!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Nikki, I frequent the site, read posts and comment to myself all the time. This particular post, however, was just so touching that I had to share a post with all my natural (and soon to be natural)sisters. I'm sure some of us can still remember how difficult it was to face the world after our own big chops. But for most of us, as this educator pointed out, it was our decision. At a time when young women are still so unsure of themselves in a 'long, straight hair is the only way' world, I can only imagine the confusion and dismay these girls must feel.

    None of us know why the father did this. At this point, it doesn't matter. What we do know is the effect the chop has had on these three young, impressionable women. I think it would be awesome for this community to wrap our arms around them and support their contined journey.

    I am more than happy to donate some headbands, hairclips, age appropriate earrings to the girls. I also think it would be a fantastic idea for you, Nikki, to print out a few of your favorite TWAs- from the submissions you have received from women following your blog and send them in the care package. I remember how inspiring TWA pics were for me when I first chopped. I'm not aware of where I can purchase 'happy to be nappy' baby tee's but maybe one of your subscribers makes them and would be willing to donate 3 for the young ladies.

    Ethical standards, my ass! Especially if this is a predominantly white school. They have no idea how these girls are feeling. This educator (fabulous woman of compassion) should probably run the idea by the parents to make sure it's okay with them. If they are fine with it, then the educator should move forward full speed ahead. If it violates any school rules, do it off school grounds or after schoool hours.

    We have to keep our young black girls lifted up! We are beautiful! Low fade, nappy, curly, long, straight, twisted, locked, free flowing….if it's us, it's fierce!

    Contact me at nizzymizz@yahoo.com

  • Shake says:

    She didn't single these children out. In that she didn't PICK them out. The children's problem came in her path and she has decided to do something about it. I am an educator myself, and like it was stated above, going the extra mile for a child that needs it will make all the difference in that child's life. I'm sure if there were some other situation, involving some other child, she was sympathetic to she would do the same. I commend her for the concern and effort in reaching out for help. I do agree that the parents should be asked first before any gift giving is carried out, however.

  • Eleven35 Bath & Beauty says:

    I think if the readers donated these products in the name of CurlyNikki it is not stepping over the line. Think about companies donate to schools all the time i.e. school supplies. There are ways around this issue.

    But like Anonymous 7:15 a.m. my real concern is WHY did the father do this…that is the root of their self-esteem issue not their hair. Because a Father or Mother will decide to cut their child hair for good reasons throughout the course of a child's life (my mom cut my hair because of relaxer damaged and took my hair out); but if the Father's intensions were negative…that's the issue!

  • Anonymous says:

    Ok, I would suggest that you first make sure that you would not be violating any school system rules and them you could call and ask the parents if you could meet with them to #1 try and find out the reason for this and #2 offer some product suggestions and inspirational photos and even youtube to assist them in proper hair care for their daughters hair that is IF they are receptive to all of this, all you can do is try.

  • Anonymous says:

    By ethical standards, this is overstepping the professional boundaries. But sometimes going that extra mile really makes a difference in a child's life. It is written that a child really needs at least one positive and influential adult in their life to help them from goin down the wrong path. In my short time as a teacher I've learned that what you do for one you must be able to do for all of your students. and these girls arent even in her classroom. I def. think purchasing products for these girls would be to much but offering a care package or donation sounds like a great idea, especially if you include some photos of other beautiful nappies and words of encouragement. its a great idea to help these young girls at a time when then are learning about themselves as individuals.

  • Anonymous says:

    Why would the father do that? What was he in charge of doing their hair that do, got frustrated and decided to give them all buzz cuts? Jeez… Sorry had to get that out of my system! haha

    I used to work in a afterschool program, and you would be surprised how many parents are offended when someone else offers advice or help for their child. So although it's a great idea, I'm sure this is a sore spot for the parents and they may not react pleasantly.

  • Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know WHY the father chopped their hair to start with? Anger, lice, meanness, etc…? What makes you think he won't do it again, even if the hair becomes more healthy? The problem here, as I see it, isn't haircare products, it's what's going on within that family. He did show up at the school to try to reach them so maybe it wasn't done with malice. This is a hard one…too many facts aren't known here….
    T.J.

  • Alicia says:

    Can a teacher do that? Is it ethical/legal for her to pick certain students to give gifts to? I think she should make sure that she is not crossing a line by talking to her superiors AND to the childrens' parents. It does sound like a noble idea, but I feel she should get clearance first.

    The father sounds like a real jerk by the way.

Leave a Reply