A once empty classroom is now “buzzing” with excitement at Franklin Middle School. The unused room is now home to the school’s new Bolt Barbershop.

The idea of offering free haircuts to Franklin students started a few years back with former staff members Ben Ethier and Eriece Colbert. They knew middle school can be challenging for some students as their bodies grow and change. Often times at this age, a student’s physical appearance can shape their self-esteem and self-confidence. And if their family is struggling financially, a haircut might not be an option. So the two started “Quarterly Cuts,” a program that brought in local barbers four times a year to provide students with a free haircut. When Ben and Eriece left Franklin, the PTA wanted to keep the program going. But they did more than that – they opened a barbershop inside the school!

The Bolt Barbershop was a true collaboration between Franklin’s PTA, administrators, staff, and families. Through donations and sponsorships, the PTA raised funds to help purchase chairs, lighting, carts, mats, capes, and other supplies for the shop. Several local businesses also stepped forward to offer their support, ensuring the shop was equipped and staffed with skilled professionals. To start, the barbershop will be open two days a month, providing free clipper and scissor cuts to students. Franklin Principal Abbie Parker says more than 60 students have already signed up for an appointment.

The new barbershop will be a safe space where students can get professional haircuts without the financial burden that many families face. Principal Parker also hopes it will foster confidence, inclusivity, and a sense of unity within the school.

“If a student doesn’t feel good about themselves, it can create barriers to learning. When they feel safe and provided for, they can just focus on being a student. They can learn and have more fun at school,” says Parker. “A simple thing like a haircut can have a profound impact on their lives.”