CARROLL COUNTY, Ga. — The family of an 8-year-old Georgia girl said she was bullied so severely she had to be taken to the emergency room. Dorris Bearden said her granddaughter’s hair was pulled so hard that her scalp ripped.
“They kept pulling it and pulling it, especially on the playground,” said third-grader Aolani Dunbar. “Everybody got a chance, and I was in the gazebo sitting there crying because I have no friends to play with that will protect me.”
Now, there is a gaping wound on the crown of Dunbar’s scalp, and her head was shaved bald to avoid infection. Her family said her schoolmates picked on her for two straight weeks because she got hair extensions. Bearden said Aolani wanted long hair so she could brush it like the other girls.
“She steps in the door of that school and the first thing they do is attack her and start ripping her hair out,” said Bearden.
Aolani’s family told Willis that the girl suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, and that may have kept her from confiding in an adult earlier. Bearden said she reported incidents to the principal as soon as she discovered the injury.
“When I saw just the horror of it, I just started to cry,” said Bearden. “I cried as I unbraided her hair and the hair fell out in my hands.”
Bearden said one child received an in-school suspension, but she said that punishment sends the wrong message. Doctors said the little girl may never grow hair on the injured part of her scalp again and may need skin grafts, according to Bearden. Aolani’s mother and even strangers who learned of the story on Facebook have shaved their heads so she doesn’t feel alone.
They’re also asking people to donate hair to Locks of Love so that they can make a wig for Aolani and other children in need.
“It’s not only a temporary effect,” said Bearden. “It’s something that could scar for life.”
She urged parents and school officials to take reports of bullying seriously.