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Franklin Middle School hoping to boost students’ confidence with new “Quarterly Cuts” program

Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 5:30 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Between the witty conversation, the sound of buzzing clippers, and sports on the screen, one classroom at Franklin Middle School can come across as a typical barbershop.

“We love what we do,” said Donald Wrightsell, while working on a student’s hair.

Wrightsell has been cutting hair for four years. He’s one of the Lounge Beard and Hair Parlor barbers that are part of a new program to provide free haircuts to students.

“We just all got connected and we just all had the right mindset of let’s help the community,” he said.

It’s called Quarterly Cuts. The program began a couple of months ago after having to be pushed back due to the pandemic.

Eriece Colbert, the school’s Instructional Coach says it started with talk about better-helping students.

“We found that students wanted to put their hoods on their heads or wouldn’t participate in activities academically because they were not happy about the way the hair looked,” she said.

Colbert says sometimes she’d try to help.

“I was often helping with braids or a mishap maybe with a hair product,” she added.

However, now they brought in the professionals to take over and it’s gone from a couple of students at the start to 20 on this day.

Colbert says it’s also broken down barriers.

“One of the things that we have to make is choices as parents,” she said. “Sometimes just making that decision of maybe not this month, and we’ll have to wait until another time when budget allows for it. So we just were able to say hey, this is open to any of our students.”

All any student has to do is sign up with a parent’s permission. The Cedar Rapids Police Protective Charity is sponsoring this month’s haircuts.

Charity Hansel with the organization and the department’s mental health officer says it’s also an opportunity to build relationships.

“A lot of times we’re called when there’s crisis. We’re not called when things are going well or when someone is having a birthday party, so this gives us an opportunity outside of crisis to work with kids,” said Hansel. “The kids come in and they don’t really make contact, and by the time they are leaving they have a smile on their face.”

The plan is to keep such a needed program going into the next school year.

“It gives a sense of being a thunderbolt, and having our kids feeling like they are appreciated,” Colbert said.

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