After a seven-year-old girl’s hair was cut by a classmate and then a teacher without her parents’ permission, the father sued the school system, a librarian, and a teacher’s assistant for $1 million.
Jimmy Hoffmeyer, a father from Mount Pleasant, Michigan, claimed his daughter’s hair was first cut by a classmate on the school bus, causing him to go to a salon to get it properly fixed.
His daughter Jurnee, however, arrived home two days after the incident with a new haircut. Hoffmeyer said his child came home on March 24 in tears, telling him that a teacher cut her hair.
“Our kind of hair, you can’t just wet down and cut it because and that’s when I feel like they should have, even if they were trying to do it in the kindest of their heart, once they seen the outcome, they should have been like, yeah we messed up,” the Michigan father stated in April.
“After that teacher cut her hair, she was so embarrassed. So embarrassed. Because she had to go back to class like that,” he said of his daughter according to the Newsner.
The Mount Pleasant Public Schools Board of Education in Michigan announced that an independent examination found no evidence of racial bias after interviewing teachers, students, and employees following Jurnee’s father’s complaints. However, Hoffmeyer claimed he and his daughter were not contacted.
The incident was known to two other employees, but they did not notify anyone about it. According to the board, all involved staff members had apologized.
The biracial girl’s constitutional rights were allegedly disrespected, as well as race discrimination, ethnic harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and assault and battery, stated a lawsuit submitted in federal court in Grand Rapids against Mount Pleasant Public Schools.
Since then, Hoffmeyer has removed his daughter from school. Hoffmeyer, who is also biracial, claimed, “I got mad and hung up.” 6
“I’m not one to try to make things about race,” said Hoffmeyer, who is affiliated with the National Parents Union, a nationwide network of parent organizations and advocates dedicated to improving children’s lives.
“I’ve pretty much grown up with only white people, myself,” he went on to say.
The school board announced that the staff member who cut Jurnee’s hair had been reprimanded following the independent review.
An independent third-party investigation found that cutting the girl’s hair without her parents’ permission and admin staff being informed was against school rules despite the worker’s “good intentions.”
“Regardless of their good intentions, these actions were unacceptable and show a lack of judgment on the part of our two employees,” District Superintendent Jennifer Verleger said in a statement obtained by the Associated Press.
“Both are being reviewed for further disciplinary actions in accordance without school policies and procedures,” she added.