A Franklin, Tennessee high school has captured national attention this week for all the wrong reasons; video showing a group of bullies ripping off a teen girl's wig — and filming her as she cried in a bathroom stall — has attracted attention online, with many expressing shock and outrage at the behavior shown. Despite what she went through, however, Lauren "Lulu" Williams, the bullied student in the video, and her mother, Myckelle Williams, are telling her story in an effort to make a positive difference in the world.
In an Instagram post, Williams explained that her daughter, a 16-year-old student at Franklin High School, suffers from a condition that causes severe dryness, hair breakage, and loss. Because of her condition, she wears a wig to school "in an effort to still feel beautiful."
"We all know how easy it is to feel insecure at age 16," Williams continued.
Unfortunately for Lulu, bullies began targeting her; on Friday, a few boys pulled off her wig in an effort to win a $5 bet. They filmed the incident, and when Lulu ran to the bathroom in tears, they followed her, hoisting the camera over the top of the bathroom stall so that they could film her as she cried and begged them to return her wig.
After calling her mother in tears, begging to be picked up from school, Lulu later had to be taken to the hospital and treated for abrasions and whiplash.
"Her head was hurting," Williams told Fox 17. "Her neck was hurting. Her scalp was hurting and she was just crying. 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."
Despite enduring such a horrific experience, Lulu refused to let the bullies win, her mother explained; she decided to shave her head and "take back her control."
Now, Lulu and her mother are asking for others to stand up against bullying, using the hashtag "SayNoToShaming2018."
"The teen suicide rate has now DOUBLED and bullying has played a HUGE Role. If you have a teen in this situation, continue to uplift them and let them know that they are strong and beautiful and can own their insecurities and take control rather than being controlled," Williams wrote. "I admire the strength and beauty of my little Lulu and know that she will inspire many others even through this difficult time in her life."
Since Lulu's story was posted online, she's received an outpouring of support on social media.
"I AM PISSED !!!!!! She is so strong and inspiring I wish her much success she is beautiful and I love her," one Instagram user wrote.
"We stand with you LuLu!!!! #shamefree," wrote another.
Williamson County Schools are currently investigating the situation, with Williamson County Schools Superintendent Dr. Mike Looney telling WSMV that he considers the incident an assault and, as such, the district is seeking to charge at least two students.
"I don't have any tolerance for behavior that hurts physically or emotionally other students," Dr. Looney said. "Know that we take this very seriously and know that we are going to provide the appropriate punishment to the fullest extent possible."