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Pigtail power! Teen fights bullies with her hairdo

Maisie Kate Miller / Facebook

Maisie Kate Miller, bottom row on the left, and her friends show pigtail solidarity to combat bullying.

One 15-year-old girl is fighting back against bullies – with pigtails.

Maisie Kate Miller, a Boston-area teen, had been picked on by one girl at her high school for a while. Her bully made cutting remarks about Maisie’s body, boyfriend and clothes. But as The Washington Post first reported, when she made fun of Maisie’s hairstyle, that bully went too far.

As Maisie walked past on the stairs of Marblehead High School, her bully loudly mocked her hairstyle, saying, “Who wears pigtails still? What is this, kindergarten?” Maisie turned around and the girl snapped at her to “Keep walking!” 

Though that incident wasn't huge, it was the last straw for Maisie, and she found herself crying in class. Later that night, she posted this message on her Facebook page:

“There was a incident today, and I was really upset about it.  A girl who has been bothering me all year, saying rude, hurtful things to me, said something that just topped me over, and I’m ready to get this Over and done with. Today she was behind me going up the stairs and commented on my hair that was up in pigtails (for a sport) commenting to her friend

Saying “who wears pigtails still? Are we in kindergarten?” as nonchalant and innocent as this seems, it’s been one of a few comments at me and about me and my group of friends said in hearing range of myself. I am asking you all to understand that this hurt me beyond reason (partially from PMS, and partially because this has been a tough week for me), but mostly because it was wrong, i cried. This was the last straw for me. I know pigtails are ridiculous looking and often don’t look the best on 15 and 16 year olds, but please if you could help my cause and do so many other girls who have had hurtful things said to them; wear pigtails tomorrow. If you can’t or won’t, please tell others about my experience, and ask them

To please wear pigtails. 

Thank you so much for reading, and sharing.” 

That night, the messages of support started pouring in. Maisie and her friends were overwhelmed by the feedback that first evening.

"They were dazzled by the response and the caring coming out. People were responding with such warmth and caring and passion," Maisie's mom, Joanne Miller, told TODAY Moms.

Maisie, showing remarkable maturity and compassion, didn’t name her bully and urged her friends not to seek revenge, again posting on Facebook, “Thank you to everyone who has supported me tonight, and tomorrow, but I'd like to remind people that this is a protest against bullying, and not my particular situation, nor the person who did it to me. The last thing I ask for is for people to make the person who started this be bullied. that would be backwards and therefore against the movement.”

Maisie’s post prompted hundreds of kids (and adults) to wear pigtails to school that next day. Loren Weston, a counselor and sponsor of an anti-bullying club at Maisie’s school, told The Washington Post, “There were hundreds of them — almost all of the sophomore class." She also said that Maisie is “someone who sticks up for people and that’s why this response.” 

As the Washington Post story about Maisie started circulating on Wednesday, people around the globe have responded. Pictures of people sporting pigtails from around the world have been flooding Maisie's newly-created Facebook page, Pigtails4Peace. Maisie told TODAY Moms that support has meant so much to her.

"It's come from such a negative place to such a positive place," Maisie said. "I feel so empowered and overwhelmed with all of the love and compassion I've seen. I'm just shaking from all of this. I did not expect this."

Maisie told the Washington Post that since the big pigtail rally, things have gotten better – not just for her, but for other kids who were victims of the same bully. And, through friends, Maisie has found out that her bully herself has also been going through some difficult times and feels bad about her actions. That understanding gave Maisie a newfound compassion for the girl, she told TODAY Moms: "I've tried to reach out to her and be a friend."

Dana Macario is a Seattle-area mom who’s wearing pigtails today in support of the Pigtails for Peace movement.

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Video: Former bully speaks out