School Tells Girl Bullied for Donating Her Hair to a Cancer Charity to Toughen Up

After 10-year-old Jetta Fosburg chopped her locks, kids at her Ohio school began harassing her.

(Photo: Stand With Jetta/Facebook)

Oct 21, 2014· 2 MIN READ
Culture and education editor Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

The last thing 10-year-old Jetta Fosburg expected to happen when she cut her hair and donated it to child cancer patients was to be bullied by her classmates at school. But that’s what happened to the Dayton, Ohio, girl after she cut 14 inches off her locks and contributed the hair to the Wigs for Kids charity.

After the school allegedly failed to deal with the problem, Jetta’s mom, Heidi Fosburg, decided to fight back. She pulled her daughter from the school, filed a complaint with the local school district, and started a Facebook page, Stand With Jetta. Fosburg’s goal: to show support for Jetta’s willingness to help others and rebuild the girl’s confidence.

After experiencing the cruel comments of her classmates, Jetta certainly needed a boost.

"They [other students] said things like she wants to be a boy, she's ugly now—a lot of hurtful things," Fosburg told FOX 45.

The mom said she complained to Jetta’s teacher and the administration at Pathway School of Discovery, the K–8 charter school her daughter was attending. Although the school filled out a bullying incident report, students continued to tease Jetta without facing consequences. According to Heidi Fosburg, the school’s principal was unsupportive.

"We were told to tough it out,” Fosburg told the news station. “He said he didn't know of anyone who has ever died from words being said."

Despite calls for schools to swiftly and decisively put a stop to bullying by students, too many teachers and administrators continue to not take bullying seriously. As a result, nearly 160,000 kids miss school every day because they are afraid they're going to be physically or verbally harassed if they show up.

Heidi Fosburg’s efforts to encourage Jetta have met with praise on social media. More than 50,000 people have liked the Stand With Jetta page since it was launched on Oct. 9. Followers of the page have been sharing photos of their own short hairdos, supportive comments, and experiences with cancer.

"What you did by donating your hair to someone going through cancer treatment is such a HUGE, POSITIVE thing. By doing this you have made a horrible time in someone's life a little bit easier to cope with," wrote Facebook user Scott Konkel. "Both my parent died from Cancer and my Mom wore a wig when she lost her hair. I know it made her feel better. Hold your head up, high and do not let others talk down to you, for something that they, themselves would not even have the Courage to do. (Donating their hair). You continue to be the Great person you are and BELIEVE that you are stronger than any 'bad words' that may be said to you by mean, cold hearted kids."

The outpouring of encouragement seems to be improving Jetta’s spirits. "Knowing that there's people who think that my haircut's cute, and that they think that I'm a good person, it kind of helps me fight against [kids who bully]," Jetta told WHIO.

Heidi Fosburg has also begun a T-shirt campaign to raise money for Wigs for Kids and an anti-bullying nonprofit. She’s selling shirts that have the hashtag #WeStandWithJetta printed on them. So far the effort has raised more than $2,000. “Our mission is to raise awareness and use this opportunity to show that something positive can come from something negative!” states the T-shirt’s Web page.