A brave girl wanted to do something totally unselfish to help others. She had seen the effects that cancer had on her grandparents: her grandfather lost his life fighting the disease and her grandmother was facing off with stage four-colon cancer. Ten-year-old Jetta Fosberg also witnessed her beloved grandparents going to chemotherapy, and that sparked her determination to donate 14 inches of her hair to Wigs for Kids.
After her mother made her wait several months to ensure that she was serious about doing such a tremendous deed, Jetta sported a darling short pixie cut. She was proud of what she had done, and so was Jetta’s family and friends. But that wasn’t the case with Jetta’s classmates. She was bullied for her “boy” like hair.
“It was a really big surprise,” Jetta said. “Usually my friends are really supportive, but they were saying I was ugly, that no one likes me anymore, and calling me names like Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus.”
Jetta’s mom Heidi Fosberg was also shocked at the negative reaction to her daughter’s bravery by students and school administration alike.
Heidi says, “A group of students harassed her on a daily basis saying ‘you want to be a boy’ or calling her nasty names and the male students especially would not let it go.” While in art class a few boys bullying Jetta to no end, she told the teacher and was instructed to ignore the boys, but the boys were never reprimanded.
Heidi followed up with the situation that next week in hopes that something would be done, “But when I brought her back to school on Monday it was like nothing had ever happened. The boys continued teasing her, saying their parents didn’t really care and that the school hadn’t followed through on any punishment.”
When Heidi met with the school principal she was disappointed with his response, “He told me it’s hard to take bullying seriously in the school when parents don’t take it seriously at home, so there wasn’t much they could do. Then he used the adage ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,’ and said ‘nobody has ever died from words.”
But Heidi knew that words are actually powerful, so she took matters into her own hands and enlisted the community in building up each other with positive words. She organized a silent rally during the morning drop-off at Jetta’s school. “We had 30 people join us with positive posters like ‘good morning,’ ‘smile,’ ‘you are special.”’ Some parents said ‘Hi’ and ‘Thank you’ and honked their horn…”
She also made a Facebook page called Stand With Jetta to be a special place where people can go to encourage Jetta’s bravery with kind words.
Meanwhile, Jetta has been out of school and doing her assignments at home, but she hopes to return to the learning environment that she once loved.
From this experience this Jetta is learning that doing the right thing isn’t always popular. But we hope that she will never lose the compassion that she has for others just because of few mean bullies.
Stand strong Jetta… you are a warrior to those battling cancer and to those who have suffered through bullying because of their uniqueness.