Franklin Middle School converts classroom into barbershop for students

Last month, the school converted one of its classrooms into the Bolt Barbershop.
Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 5:37 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - When most people think of school essentials, haircuts probably aren’t at the top of their list. But leaders at Franklin Middle School say they can make all the difference.

“As they’re in the chair, it’s allowing them to become more and more confident. So I think after each cut we really see, you know, shoulders kind of go up, hoods and hats come off.” said Franklin Middle School Counselor Hannah Richmond.

Last month, the school converted one of its classrooms into the Bolt Barbershop; a place where students can come and get their hair cut and styled free of charge.

The service, which has been ongoing since 2021 before finding its permanent home in Franklin, was born out of staff’s observations about students’ lack of confidence and self-esteem.

“Middle school is a really challenging time for a lot of kids. And so, if we can help break down those barrier by offering haircuts, our PTA wanted to make sure that we continued with that.” said Richmond.

Although the shop has only been open for a few weeks, Richmond says she’s already seen a difference, both in and out of the classroom.

“It just allows them to be more confident in themselves, which I think in turn, allows for academic success.” Richmond said.

Barbers and stylists from the community volunteer their skills, one of whom says giving back in this way is invaluable to students.

“They feel better, they do better in school, and they’re just good and all-around happy about themselves. Confidence is so important in little kids these days, in the young community. And so, we want them to be able to feel good about themselves and not be so stressed about life.” said Dameko Jones, volunteer barber and Manager of Marion barbershop Elevated Cuts.

Several services, including trims, twists, fades, and more are available for students at the barbershop, though the school is currently working to extend programming for traditional Afro-Centric styles for females, such as braids.