Jimmy Hoffmeyer, the father of a 7-year-old Michigan girl whose hair was cut by a teacher without permission, decided to file a $1 million lawsuit against the school district, a teacher’s assistant and a librarian.
On Tuesday, MLive.com reported that the lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Grand Rapids against Pleasant Public Schools. The suit alleged that Jurnee, a biracial child, was subject to racial discrimination and ethnic intimidation and faced emotional distress, assault and battery.
Hoffmeyer claimed that his daughter returned from school with significant hair missing from her head.
“I mean, I chalked it up because it was a child, and you’re not thinking of any serious consequences having to do with a kid,” Hoffmeyer told ABC12/WJRT in April.
That same day, Hoffmeyer took Journey to a salon to even out the other child’s work while leaving Jurnee’s hair around shoulder-length.
She returned home the next day with her hair in a crew cut.
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She insisted that it wasn’t fellow classmates this time—it was a staff member.
“After that teacher cut her hair, she was so embarrassed, so embarrassed that she had to go back to class like that,” Hoffmeyer told WJRT.
He reached out to school for clarifications about the incident but was not answered.
Flash forward to July, the Mount Pleasant Public Schools Board of Education said that the staff member who cut Jurnee’s hair had been reprimanded.
An independent third-party investigation believed that despite the worker’s presumed pure intentions to cut her hair, not receiving permission from her parents and without informing the district administrators was a violation of school protocol.
Two other staff members were aware of the incident, but did not report it. The board stated that all three employees have since apologized for the incident.
The school board further said that the independent investigation didn’t see any evidence of racial bias and included interviews with students, families, district personnel, and a review of photos and videos, including social media.
Hoffmeyer confirmed that Jurnee and he had not been questioned during an internal review.
On Thursday, Amy Bond, the president of Mount Pleasant Pleasant Public Schools Board of Education, claimed that the district hadn’t received a complaint, CBC News reported.
”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.
She also noted that they would continue to “aggressively defend against these baseless allegations in court” and won’t let this situation veer them from their goal to “provide every child a world-class education that prepares them for college and careers.”
Now, Jurnee attends another elementary school.