As the daughter of divorced parents, 13-year-old Kelsey Frederick was excited to celebrate her birthday in both households for double the fun. But when she came home to her mother’s house in tears and sporting a drastic new haircut, her mother decided she could not stand idly by. She had to take action.
Birthday Bash Gone Wrong
It was Kelsey Frederick’s 13th birthday, and the Ohio teenager was understandably on cloud nine. In honor of her big day, she was sporting a brand new look, and as it was the first time in her life that she had done something so drastic, and she was extremely excited about it.
Moreover, she was simply thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate. But she had no way of being able to predict the way her seemingly innocent birthday gesture would end up inexplicably infuriating those near and dear to her. What was about to happen to her would leave her humiliated in tears.
Two Homes, Two Celebrations
Kelsey’s parents were divorced. They shared custody of their daughter, and they had agreed upon the terms of how they ought to raise her, even though they were apart. Part of that meant deciding on how to divvy up the time each parent spent with her during holidays and other special occasions.
As such, Kelsey had become accustomed to having two separate birthday celebrations. If anything, it was a chance to have double the fun and double the joy. Many children of divorced parents have a similar arrangement. However, the events of this year’s birthday were going to be anything but usual.
What Started As A Family Affair
In many families where a child’s biological parents have parted ways, the addition of a new parent to the equation can be quite difficult. Thankfully, for Kelsey, that was not the case. Her stepmother, Sarah Murray, was also an important figure in her life, and she had met Kelsey’s dad in a very unique way.
The two of them were volunteering at a local firehouse when they met and fell in love. Kelsey was excited to spend time with the two of them for the second half of her birthday celebrations. But first, it was time for her mom to show her some love.
Birthday, Part One
For the first part of Kelsey’s birthday, it was up to her mom Christin Johnson to show her girl a good time. Kelsey had had the same haircut for a long time, and hadn’t played with the possibilities available to her. Because of that, mother and daughter decided together that it was high time for an awesome upgrade.
Christin felt the best birthday gift this year wasn’t the kind to be wrapped up inside a parcel, and instead, she would help her now-teen daughter fulfill her wish for a new cool look. It was a simple act — that would have extremely unfortunate consequences.
The Pampering Before The Storm
Having spent her childhood with more or less the same hairstyle, stepping into the salon and going through the process of having her hair attended to professionally was an entirely new experience for Kelsey. After spending time at the hair salon in town, Kelsey’s new look was complete.
She had lighter blonde highlights painted in her hair, and was over the moon about it. Her mom was so delighted with her daughter’s new hairstyle that she proudly posted the results of the hair salon visit on her Facebook. Then, it was time for Kelsey to celebrate the second half of her birthday festivities: at Dad’s. However, there was no way she could have predicted what awaited her there.
A Drastic Haircut
Several days passed between when Kelsey went to her father and stepmother’s house for her second birthday celebration. Then, all of a sudden, Kelsey showed up back at her mother’s house, unannounced. Something drastic had shifted in her during her short time away from her mother, and she was clearly in a terrible state.
Kelsey was absolutely shaken, mortified, in tears. What’s more, she looked vastly different. Her hair, highlights and all, was gone — totally chopped off as the result of a drastic haircut. Kelsey hadn’t done this to herself, and had no reason to. So what on Earth could have happened in her time away?
Making parenting work in the wake of divorce is not always a smooth ride; understandably, it’s often far from it. Different parents have different styles of raising their children, and will not always see eye to eye, which often becomes far more apparent if they’re not together.
But Kelsey’s dad went above and beyond. Schaffen Frederick and his second wife, Sarah Murray, were not only shocked by Kelsey’s new hairdo with her highlights — they were enraged. They felt they had to teach her, and possibly her mother, a lesson, and they knew there was one clear way to get their message across.
Fleeing The Scissors
Kelsey’s drastic haircut had been forced on her out of the blue. Allegedly, while she was visiting them to celebrate her birthday, Kelsey’s father and stepmother had Kelsey’s hair chopped off as a means of showing her there would be consequences for what they perceived to be drastic actions.
Horrified, Kelsey abruptly left her father’s house. She was so distraught at the time that she left every possession of hers behind, not even wishing to return to pick up her belongings. Kelsey went back to her mother’s house, and Christin, mortified, knew she had to do something. She could not stand idly by.
Before And After Photos
Christin felt the actions taken to give her daughter this drastic haircut were so appalling that they couldn’t be kept in the family. She was livid, and wanted the world to see what had been done. She took to social media, posting the before and after pictures of her daughter.
They showed her first beaming proudly with her new highlighted hairdo, and then distraught, crying, hiding her face in shame beneath the hack job that had been done to her once-long locks. Christin started a new Facebook page in support of Kelsey, where she documented the saga. Almost instantly, the page took off, receiving many followers. Once the news spreading, it was time for Christin to right what she saw as the outrageous wrong.
Giving Kelsey Her Dignity
Kelsey’s mother and the other female figures that surrounded and nourished her world refused to allow her to continue hanging her head in shame. Kelsey’s godmother, Haylee Ann, took her to a salon called Lady Jane’s in Toledo, Ohio, not far away. There, they searched for the right wig to cover Kelsey’s head until her hair grew out.
The ladies of the salon were loving and patient, and Kelsey at last began to heal from the traumatic incident. For now, she could smile again. But her mother and aunt wanted to make sure the culprits would understand the weight of their actions.
Kelsey was grateful to reclaim ownership over her appearance, and her mother was delighted with the kindness and generosity with which the women of the salon had treated her daughter. Christin gave a special shout-out to Haylee Ann, her daughter’s godmother, remarking on how special the bond was that the two shared.
In the photos, the entire salon staff gathered together to make Kelsey smile, showing their total compassion and dedication to the mission at hand. Though the shocking haircut had dealt a strong blow to Kelsey’s self-esteem, she was fortunate to be surrounded by a strong support system of sympathetic women. But for her father, repercussions were already rolling in.
Facing The Heat
The consequences of Schaffen and Sarah allegedly giving Kelsey the radical haircut were swift and powerful. As a result of the buzz from social media riffing off the pictures that Christin had posted of her daughter, the police department and children’s services in Wood County, Ohio, got involved.
They took the act very seriously, and opened a potential child abuse investigation. Their community reacted as well: as a result of the pending investigation, the couple were placed on leave from their positions as volunteers at the firehouse, according to their own fire chief. Meanwhile, something incredible was about to happen to Kelsey.
Donations For Kelsey
Kelsey had left a sizable portion of her personal belongings at her father’s house when she had fled there after the incident. She had no desire to return back there, and her mother certainly wasn’t going there either. After considering their options, Kelsey’s mom and aunt set up a GoFundMe in her honor.
The original goal as stated on the page was to raise $1,000 to help replace the items Kelsey left behind. They had some trouble at first, as the first two pages had been flagged suspiciously as scams and were closed. But on the third try, they succeeded. What they got in return left them gobsmacked.
A Wave Of Solidarity
Kelsey’s mom and aunt had only hoped for $1,000 to help Kelsey attempt to make her life stable again in the wake of her traumatic incident at her father’s. Supporters of Kelsey responded very viscerally to the story of her drastic haircut. They took her GoFundMe page by storm.
Patrons offered gifts such as hair extensions, salon appointments, new wigs, and even offering to pay the legal fees in the suit against her father. Just one anonymous donor alone slammed $2,000 on the page! All in all, the family far exceeded its initial goal, and Kelsey wound up with $3,738. But money wasn’t going to solve everything.
The Post Goes Viral
When Christin Johnson had initially posted the pictures of her daughter’s radical haircut at the end of January 2018, the thought likely didn’t cross her mind that her post would get as much traction as it did. She probably was hoping to let off some steam and anger in a public forum with close friends and family.
However, the post took on an incredible life of its own, traveling around the Internet like wildfire. In all, it garnered some 25,000 shares and over 40,000 reactions. People were horrified by what had happened to Kelsey, and identified with the struggles that children of divorced parents often go through. Something surely had to change in their family dynamic.
Restructuring Her Life
One of the most immediate concerns about Kelsey’s well-being was how she would continue her schooling. Up until the incident with her father and stepmother, she had been attending school nearer to them. Now that her mother’s family had opted to shield her from her father, that was no longer an option.
Part of the reasoning behind the fundraising in Kelsey’s name on GoFundMe was to cover the expenses of gas it would take to drive the extra distance from her mother’s house to her school. The repercussions of the incident were so great that they even tried to switch her into the school district where her mother lived. What would her father and stepmother have to say about all the fallout?
There are two sides to every story, no matter how extreme it may seem from the surface. And while Kelsey’s father and stepmother have remained as silent on the matter as they can be, particularly in light of the legal case that they are facing, a Facebook post by Kelsey’s stepmother Sarah Murray is fairly telling.
Just two months after the haircut that took social media by storm, Sarah posted a simple meme that proclaimed: “People talk about me behind my back and I just sit here like, ‘Damn. I got myself a fan club’.” Accompanied with a blithe comment, it appears that whatever had motivated her and her husband’s alleged decision to snip Kelsey’s hair, they were steadfast in their convictions. And Kelsey’s social media fame had its own backlash.
Though Kelsey and her family were comforted by the wave of support and encouragement they received in the form of comments across Facebook, GoFundMe, and even Reddit, as with any post that goes viral, there were bound to be detractors with a take of their own.
Many of the negative responses focused on Kelsey’s image being spread across the Internet. The social media commenters felt it was irresponsible to release the image and personal information of a 13-year-old in this manner. Despite this, Kelsey had given her permission for her mother to make the initial post. But there was yet another type of detractor.
Undercutting The Trauma
The Internet is filled with petty people who hide behind the comfortable mask of their electronic devices in order to spread unkind messages. Such postings even made it into the first few comments under the GoFundMe account in Kelsey’s name. There were people mocking the entire campaign, saying that what Kelsey had gone through was not a big deal.
These sort of reactions likely fail to understand how vital such events can impact a teenager’s view of self-worth in the world in which they operate. Clearly, the drastic reaction to Kelsey’s birthday present of highlights was so deeply scarring that it had caused her to never wish to return to her father. Thankfully, for every nasty comment, there was an entire army of people ready to lift her up.
Showered With Love
The most incredible consequence of that fateful day with a pair of shears was just how quickly random strangers can step up to the plate to comfort a young girl who had been left feeling ashamed. From the photos of a girl too horrified to show her own face emerged a young woman brimming with confidence, a renewed support system, and the funds to start a new life.
In Kelsey’s case, she is exceptionally fortunate. She had an entire team of advocates willing to go to bat for her, and a massive pool of people who resonated with the way she had been shamed, and wanted to make it right.
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