Mother says substitute teacher shamed daughter battling cancer

CANONSBURG, Pa. — The mother of a 5-year-old girl said her daughter was shamed by a substitute teacher at a Canonsburg-McMillian School District elementary school.

MaKayla Welsh was diagnosed with leukemia nearly two years ago and is in remission now, though her hair has started falling out from chemotherapy.

“It did bother her that she was losing her hair again. It bothered her to the point she didn't want to go to school when it was all gone,” MaKayla’s mother, Nicole Welsh, said.

Welsh said her daughter was sitting in class at Wylandville Elementary School Friday when substitute teacher shamed her in front of everyone.

“The teacher thought she was pulling her hair out… The teacher told her if she was bald, she wouldn't be pretty,” Welsh said.

She called the school’s principal and superintendent, who told her that was unacceptable.

“They just told me it'd be handled and promised she'd never go through anything like that again,” Welsh said.

MaKayla’s mother said the district handled the situation quickly. A video was shown to other students to help them understand what MaKayla was going through.

“When the video was done, the whole class rallied around and hugged her. She was excited and couldn't wait to go to school,” said Welsh.

Nicole Welsh had a message for the substitute teacher and others working with children.

“Be careful on how you word things to children… Words can hurt a lot more than anything else. They can stick with you forever,” she said.