Teacher to 5-year-old cancer survivor: ‘If you're bald, you won't be pretty anymore’

Ma’Kayla Welsh (Photo: WPXI)

A teacher from Canonsburg, Penn., is accused of “shaming” a five-year-old cancer survivor in front of the class.

Ma’Kayla Welsh was diagnosed with leukemia nearly two years ago. According to her GoFundMe page, Ma’Kayla has to go to weekly chemo treatments and regularly have her blood drawn (which will continue for the rest of her life). The child is now in remission, but she had to learn to walk again after losing the muscle tone in her legs and was devastated when her hair began to fall out.

“It did bother her that she was losing her hair again. It bothered her to the point she didn’t want to go to school when it was all gone,” Nicole Welsh, Ma’Kayla’s mother, told WPXI News.

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Ma’Kayla was sitting in class at Wylandville Elementary School on Friday, touching what little hair she had left on her head, when her mom claims that the substitute teacher embarrassed her in front of all her peers.

“The teacher thought that she was pulling her hair out,” Nicole said. “The teacher told her that if she was bald, she wouldn’t be pretty anymore.”

Ma’Kayla was understandably upset; the words made her feel ugly. Nicole complained to the principal and school superintendent and they agreed that the situation was “unacceptable” and that they would handle it.

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“They promised that she’d never go through something like that again,” Welsh said.

The school quickly took action and a video was shown to the class to help MaKayla’s peers understand what she was going through. Nicole said that when the video was over, the students “rallied around her and hugged her.” Now Ma’Kayla is excited to go to school.

Still, Nicole has a message to the substitute teacher: “Be careful on how you word things to children. Words can hurt a lot worse than anything else. Words can stay with you forever.”

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