The father of a 7-year-old girl whose hair was cut by a teacher without her parents’ permission has filed a $1 million lawsuit against the school district, a librarian, and a teacher's assistant.
Jimmy Hoffmeyer said on March 24 his biracial daughter Jurnee returned home from school in tears and told her dad a teacher had cut her hair.
The angry dad, from Mount Pleasant, Michigan, said his daughter received three haircuts in the space of a week, but it was the last one carried out by a teacher that left her distraught.
"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," he told ABC12 News in April.
The distraught dad said Jurnee's hair was first cut by a classmate on the school bus forcing the dad to get it properly styled at a salon. But two days after the incident Jurnee arrived home with another haircut.
"I asked what happened and said, 'I thought I told you no child should ever cut your hair,'" dad Jimmy said at the time. "She said 'but dad, it was the teacher.’ The teacher cut her hair to even it out.
"After that teacher cut her hair, she was so embarrassed. So embarrassed. Because she had to go back to class like that," he added.
Following complaints from Jurnee's dad the Mount Pleasant Public Schools Board of Education in Michigan said an independent investigation found no racial bias after carrying out interviews with employees, students, and staff but Jimmy said he and his daughter were not interviewed.
Now a lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Grand Rapids against Mount Pleasant Public Schools alleges that the biracial girl’s constitutional rights were violated, racial discrimination, ethnic intimidation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and assault and battery.
Jimmy has since taken his daughter out of the school.
The district "failed to properly train, monitor, direct, discipline, and supervise their employees, and knew or should have known that the employees would engage in the complained of behavior given the improper training, customs, procedures, and policies, and the lack of discipline that existed for employees,” according to the lawsuit, as reported by Fox26 News.
Following the independent review, the school's board said the member of staff who cut Jurnee's hair was reprimanded and that an independent third-party investigation determined that despite "good intentions" of the worker who cut the girl's hair, doing so without permission from her parents and without the knowledge of district administrators violated school policy.
Two other employees were aware of the incident but didn't report it. All three employees have apologized, the board said.
Nobody should cut a child's hair without permission from their parents, I can't imagine how distressed and confused this little girl was.
I hope her family get the justice they deserve, and lessons are learned from such a grave error of judgement. Please share to show your support for this dad and his little girl.
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