A Tennessee high school student attacked by bullies who pulled off her wig, says she has taken back control by shaving her head.
Lauren “Lulu” Williams at Franklin High School wore a wig because she was insecure about her patches of missing hair – caused by eczema and psoriasis that she has had since birth.
“I’ve never told anyone [about the condition] because I was embarrassed by it and I felt like I’m not as beautiful as all these other girls because my hair is like this,” Lulu said to Fox 19.
Though the 16-year-old wore the wig to help her confidence, she was still plagued by constant thoughts about her hair.
“She’s like, ‘What if someone took my wig off?' She’s like so scared about it all the time. It was like the main thing she always thought of,” her mother, Myckelle Williams, told Fox 19.
On Friday, her fear became a reality when another student at school ran up to her and pulled her wig off before sprinting away. The assault was recorded on Snapchat with a caption “weave snatchin’.”
“I immediately held my head and ran to the bathroom,” Lulu said. “… I ran to the stall and could hear people laughing like seeing them videotaping.”
"I feel like there are a lot of parents who are hurt by their action. I feel like there are a lot of kids being victimized and it's not being handled correctly."
Lulu said she was followed into the bathroom by a female peer who laughed and continued to record her over the stall she was hiding in while she was crying.
Myckelle said Lulu was taken to the hospital to be treated for scalp abrasions and whiplash. When the wig, which was secured with clips and glue, was ripped off her head, her natural hair and skin was torn off as well, The Tennessean reports.
“Her head was hurting. Her neck was hurting. Her scalp was hurting, and she was just crying,” Myckelle said. "The goal is when you send your kids to school, you're automatically assuming they're going to be safe and protected. And I'm feeling like she's not protected.”
“I feel like there are a lot of parents who are hurt by [the school's] action. I feel like there are a lot of kids being victimized and it's not being handled correctly," she added.
Lulu, who has dealt with bullying since she arrived at the high school two years earlier, was frustrated with the constant torment about her condition, so she decided to respond to the attack by shaving her head.
"Your beauty isn't defined by the number of strands on your head," she said. "Ever since I [shaved] it, I feel free. I'm not held down by my hair. I'm not defined by it — I'm defining myself."
Since shaving her head, Lulu has said she has received praise from other people experiencing the same or similar conditions that cause hair loss.
One person told her, “I have so much respect for you and I think that you are so brave for doing what you did,” Fox 19 reported.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Williamson County Schools said bullying is not tolerated and that they would be investigating the incident.
"This type of behavior can never be tolerated at school. In addition to school discipline, WCS prosecutes delinquent behavior to the fullest extent of the law,” said Williamson County Schools spokesperson Carol Birdsong in a statement.
It is unclear how many were involved in the bullying incident, or if any students have been disciplined.
Myckelle said she would be pressing charges.