Pop Sugar/ Alexondra Purnomo

Pop Sugar/ Alexondra Purnomo

We’re always hearing stories of how natural hair styles are being discriminated against at school and in the workplace but recently, an inspiring story about how a teacher stepped in to make a young girl’s journey to loving her natural hair a little easier has been making headlines.

Alexondra Purnomo, a first grade teacher in Rome, Italy, noticed students at her predominately Italian school were bullying and teasing Sasha, Purnomo’s new student who happened to be the only African-American girl in her classroom. When the young girl showed up to class without her usual hairstyle of braids the teasing by her classmates began.

“Some of the kids made fun of her for her short hair, so she started wearing a hat to school and refused to take it off,” Purnomo wrote on Facebook. Sasha then began to wear a winter hat and refused to take it off. Purnomo and another teacher decided to use this situation as a lesson about racial differences, and show that no matter if you’re “short, tall, light-skinned, dark-skinned, blond, brunette, with or without glasses, boy, girl, braid, bun, sneakers, shoes… ” you are uniquely special.

After their talk, Sasha took off her hat and revealed a small bun. Purnomo and the other teacher decided to wear their hair in topknots, too, and called it the “Sasha Bun,” to make her feel more at ease and comfortable. “Then one by one, all of the girls (and boys! 😂) wanted their hair in a “Sasha bun.” We were able to come together as a class and bring a smile to Sasha’s face after a long, tough week. It gave me chills to see 19 kids come together to help one fellow student.”

Pop Sugar shared an update on Sasha, reporting that she did return to school rocking the infamous winter hat. But, classmates “cheered her on saying, “Ma Sasha, sei bella,” (“But Sasha, you’re beautiful!”), she removed it and showed off her hair the rest of the day.” Not to mention, girls in her class are still sporting their Sasha buns.

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