The lawsuit also alleges racial discrimination, ethnic intimidation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and assault and battery.
A Michigan father is taking legal action after his biracial 7-year-old daughter's hair was cut by a teacher without parental permission. Jimmy Hoffmeyer, who is Black and White, has filed a $1 million lawsuit against Mount Pleasant Public Schools, a librarian, and a teacher's assistant, arguing that the incident led to his daughter's constitutional rights being violated. According to MLive.com, the lawsuit — which was filed last week in federal court in Grand Rapids — also alleges racial discrimination, ethnic intimidation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and assault and battery.
Hoffmeyer told the Associated Press that his daughter Jurnee came home from Ganiard Elementary on March 24 with most of the hair on one side of her head cut off. When asked about it, the young girl allegedly said a classmate used scissors to cut her hair on a school bus. According to the lawsuit, the student did this without Jurnee's permission. Hoffmeyer immediately complained to the principal about the incident and took Jurnee to a hairstylist to get her an asymmetrical cut that would make the differing lengths less obvious. However, two days after the first incident, Jurnee returned home from school with the hair on the other side cut.
Everyone meet Jurnee, she is a 7-year-old frost grade student from Ganiard Elementary in Mt. Pleasant, MI. She went to school and her teacher decided to cut her hair to the scalp. Our hair is our crown and that teacher stole Jurnee’s crown.— Mari Copeny (@LittleMissFlint) April 20, 2021
The teacher still has a job. pic.twitter.com/klUMSVMioP
"I asked what happened and said 'I thought I told you no child should ever cut your hair,'" Hoffmeyer said. "She said 'but dad, it was the teacher.' The teacher cut her hair to even it out." 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," the lawsuit states. Jurnee's mother is White. Hoffmeyer said the student and the teacher who cut Jurnee's hair are also White.
For over 101 years, we have committed ourselves to educate others, support our communities, and be exceptional leaders.— SoSweetSK😽 (@sigmakappazetas) April 22, 2021
It was an honor to spend time with Jurnee today at CMU. Jurnee you are amaZing, beautiful, and we look forward to our journey together. #JusticeforJurnee 💙 https://t.co/J80r6pm4bv pic.twitter.com/6Q105Q3tgc
On July 2, the Mount Pleasant Public Schools Board of Education announced a third-party investigation into the incident which concluded that the teacher who cut Jurnee's hair did not act with racial bias and thus could keep her job. "The third-party independent investigation included interviews with and feedback from district personnel, students, families as well as a review of video and photographic evidence including social media posts,” the board stated. "We believe a last chance agreement is appropriate given that the employee has an outstanding record of conduct and has never once been reprimanded in more than 20 years of work at MPPS."
IS THIS SHIT FOR REAL?! What straight thinking human being ESP A TEACHER would think this was a good idea?!https://t.co/tgCbjz69LZ— scorpiHO (@H0lifeorN0life) April 23, 2021
"In addition, Superintendent Verleger has recommended and the Board has accepted written reprimands for two additional MPPS employees who were aware of the incident but did not alert the student’s parents or the Administration," the board wrote. "It's clear from the third-party investigation and the district’s own internal investigation that MPPS employees had good intentions when performing the haircut. Regardless, their decisions and actions are unacceptable and show a major lack of judgment. The employees involved have acknowledged their wrong actions and apologized. Our main purpose with the independent investigation has been to bring the facts to light, learn from this incident and make our district even stronger."
However, Hoffmeyer said neither he nor Jurnee was questioned by the district. His daughter now attends another school. Amy Bond, Mount Pleasant Public Schools Board of Education president, said last week that the district has not received the complaint. "We are confident that the facts will prevail given our district’s appropriate and aggressive response to the incident and the findings of the third-party investigation that was conducted," Bond said in a statement. "We will aggressively defend against these baseless allegations in court and will not allow this to distract us from our mission to provide every child a world-class education that prepares them for college and careers."