The father of a 7-year-old Michigan 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 says that daughter arrived home from school with one side of her cute off. His daughter, Jurnee, told her father that a classmate used scissors to cut her hair on a school bus. However, two days later — and after complaining to the principal and having Jurnee’s hair styled at a salon with an asymmetrical cut to make the differing lengths less obvious — Jurnee arrived home with the hair on the other side cut. Jurnee told her father that this time a teacher cut her hair.
The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday and it alleges that the biracial girl’s constitutional rights were violated, racial discrimination, ethnic intimidation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and assault and battery.
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.
In July, the Mount Pleasant Public Schools Board of Education said the staffer who cut Jurnee’s hair was reprimanded and 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.
The school board said the independent investigation found no racial bias and included interviews with district personnel, students and families and a review of video and photos, including posts on social media. District administrators also performed an internal review of the incident.
But Hoffmeyer said the district never questioned him or Jurnee. She now attends another school.