That's because they decided to shave their heads in support of classmate Jett Moore, who returned to school earlier this month after being diagnosed with leukemia.
“They shaved their head on their own. It wasn't asked by me,” kindergarten teacher Allison Campbell said. “We talk about accepting others and loving others no matter what they look like, and it's just nice to see it actually done. It gave us a chance to put those words into action.”
Jett's friend Braxton Durrett said he has fun with Jett and cut his hair for him because he and others “didn't want him to feel left out.” He said he was excited to see Jett back at school.
Another classmate, Everett Renaud, said Jett is nice and makes him laugh.
Ever since Jett came back, students have “welcomed him with open arms,” loved him and encouraged him, Ms. Campbell said.
“They help him with some of the things he's not strong enough to do. It's just amazing to see how (kindergartners at Brook Hill) come together,” she said.
Their support also has included gifts.
When Jett first was diagnosed, Ms. Campbell said each child brought a special gift they picked out, and they delivered it to him.
“It was a pretty neat experience. Each child got to pick out a gift they wanted to give to Jett personally from them — things he could do in the hospital and while he was on the road traveling back and forth (for treatment),” Ms. Campbell said.
Students and others wear bracelets for Jett.
The 6-year-old said his first full day back at school was tiring, but his friends were kind when he went back, and he enjoyed the day his class had green eggs and ham.
It might be back pain or pain in his hips, Heather Moore said, and he would lay awake. She said he had bruised his sternum playing football, so she and her husband related the back pain to that injury, thinking he might have hurt something somewhere else. However, they eventually noticed a pattern where Jett would have a bad night and would get a low-grade fever almost within 24 hours, she said. So they tried to seek answers through multiple visits to a pediatrician.
Mrs. Moore said Jett learned to tolerate the pain and was compensating for it, and the doctor thought it was maybe autoimmune. They then received a referral for a pediatric rheumatologist in Dallas.
In getting his records for that appointment, she said they started picking up on some things, and it triggered a concern that it could be more serious. She said the Sunday morning before the Monday appointment, her son was in the worst pain he'd been in, so she drove him to the emergency room at Children's Medical Center in Dallas.
Mrs. Moore said Jett had some elevated inflammatory markers, and medical personnel believed he might have a bone infection.
She said she and her husband were thrilled because they thought it wasn't as serious, and Jett was going to have an MRI. After the MRI, which lasted four hours, she said she was told there was some infiltration in the bone. He was diagnosed with leukemia the next day, in January, and began treatment shortly after.
Mrs. Moore said it was hard to tell when Jett understood what was going on, but for her, it was devastating and overwhelming.
She said she grew up with someone who died from the disease, so in a way it also brought up those memories.
“It was just very scary, and you hear, you see in movies, and I didn't know much about it, so I just started researching, and we were encouraged by the prognosis,” she said.
Jett is in the process of a three-and-a-half-year treatment plan, which entails a year of intense treatment and two-and-a-half years of maintenance.
Mrs. Moore said the first weeks, which include high doses of steroids and chemotherapy, were to try to get out all of the cancer cells, and that was successful for the most part. Jett is now in a consolidation phase and receives spinal taps in Dallas as well as chemotherapy, Mrs. Moore said.
She said going to the clinic in Dallas is comforting because the doctors see situations such as Jett's all the time, and they have positive outlooks.
If there are no setbacks and the cancer does not return, Jett will be considered cured after his three and a half years of treatment.
Mrs. Moore said Jett's 7-year-old brother Jabin and 4-year-old sister Piper have been caring throughout the process — making sure Jett's washing his hands and wearing his mask when he's supposed to.
“Our new normal is kind of like walking on egg shells,” Jett's father, Jes Moore, said. “We want him to have the freedom to live as much of his life as he can as a 6-year-old, 7-year-old and 8-year-old boy, but we also have to be ready for anything that may attack his body, spike his fever, and then we're off to Dallas again for whatever it may be, so Piper and Jabin have been such a good brother and sister to him.”
He added, “It's pretty much completely altered our life. We are fighting to regain structure because when it happened — when all this happened — we just defaulted into survival mode. We're going to do whatever we could to just make it from day to day. … I think sometimes it can be easy to let the guard down. We don't want to be killjoys, but at the same time we want to be proactive in how we do things.”
Mrs. Moore, who routinely shares updates on www.caringbridge.org, called the experience “very surreal.”
“It's like you stop for a minute every now and then and the reality hits you of kind of what's going on,” she said, adding that the treatment process is regimented and planned out.
“You have to do it, so you just somehow find the energy to do it, and then you just kind of have a moment of where you're like, 'Wow, my baby has cancer,' so that can get overwhelming at that point.”
As for Jett, she said he's been unusually shy sometimes when people ask him questions, but he knows he has a bad sickness in his cells.
“We've had tough conversations where he asks questions, where he's having a little bit of anxiety …” she said.
“It'll happen at random times. He'll say something or act a certain way, and it will come out that he's scared or some things he thinks about that we may never know because … he, just at his age, doesn't necessarily know how to talk about it.”
Throughout the process, Mrs. Moore said the community has been “unbelievable,” and people from Bullard, The Brook Hill School, their church and people they don't know have reached out.
Her husband agreed, saying that while the diagnosis was a “real shock,” he and his wife are thankful for God's grace in sustaining them through everything and for the Brook Hill community.
“It's quite providential that we happen to be there,” he said. “The love — the support in so many different ways — has really encouraged us, strengthened us and helped us as a family. … Especially for Jett, the love that he has received from his classmates and his teacher is priceless. It's been a real encouragement for us.”
Going into the future, he said the most important thing is that he and his wife want to trust in God's sovereign grace as they go through their recent trial and be faithful.
He said sees this somewhat as a gift because they've experienced an outpouring of love, and they wouldn't have gotten to know people and their hearts as much if it weren't for the experience.
“That concept of the difficulty and the joy you can take out of it is exactly why God brings these things about in our lives, so we can experience more of His grace and kindness,” he said.
“You can't experience and appreciate the death of His son unless we taste in this life the trials and the difficulties that we do. It's like a macrocosmic view of the microscopic experiences that we have with people, the grace and the love we experience from them, but what's greater is the love we experience from God and his people, and that's very encouraging.”