BERTRAM, Texas (KXAN) — Last week, Bertram second-grader Charlie Armknecht went to school with his nails painted for the first time in a while. He’d stopped decorating his nails after boys at a previous school had bullied him — but he was at a new school, and he and his parents hoped his Marvel Comics-inspired nails would cause less of a stir.
But three other students at Kingsland Charter School had a problem with it, sending Charlie home in tears.
Once Kingsland Charter School Principal Meloni Puishes found out about the bullying, however, she arranged a unique and heartwarming surprise for Charlie.
The next day, many male fifth, sixth and seventh graders — and male staff members — showed up to school with their own nails painted.
“I’m not just talking about black polish, either,” said Danielle Armknecht, Charlie’s mom. “We’re talking sparkles. Kids who didn’t have polish at home used highlighters to paint their nails.”
As it turned out, overnight, Puishes had reached out to parents and staff to encourage them to do it.
According to Danielle, Charlie was so touched by the support of his school that he cried. Both mother and son were surprised, too, when other boys from the school admitted that they had wanted to paint their own nails, too, but were afraid to.
When asked about what she would say to parents — or anyone else — who has a problem with her letting her son paint his nails, Danielle responded:
“Why not? Tell me a good reason why not. Children should always be allowed to be themselves. He [Charlie] should be able to do whatever makes him happy.”