MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (AP) – The father of a 7-year-old Michigan girl whose hair was cut by a teacher without her parents’ permission has filed a million-dollar lawsuit against the school district, a librarian and a teacher’s assistant.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in federal court in Grand Rapids against Mount Pleasant public schools, MLive.com reported. He alleges that the constitutional rights of the MÃ©tis girl were violated, racial discrimination, ethnic intimidation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and bodily harm.
Jimmy Hoffmeyer, who is black and white, said that in March his daughter returned from Ganiard Elementary School with much of the hair on one side of her head cut off. Jurnee said a classmate used scissors to cut her hair on a school bus, Hoffmeyer told The Associated Press in April.
Two days after the bus incident – and after complaining to the manager and having Jurnee’s hair styled in a salon with an asymmetrical cut to make the different lengths less obvious – Jurnee returned home with Jurnee’s hair styled the other side cut off.
âI asked what happened and said ‘I thought I told you that no kid should ever cut your hair,’â Hoffmeyer said at the time. “She said ‘but daddy, that was the teacher.’ The professor cut his hair to make it even.
Jurnee’s mother is white. Hoffmeyer said the girl who cut Jurnee’s hair and the teacher who cut it are white.
The district âfailed to properly train, monitor, direct, discipline and supervise its employees, and knew or should have known that employees would engage in the behavior complained of given inappropriate training, customs, procedures and policies, and the lack of discipline that existed for the employees, âaccording to the lawsuit.
In July, the Mount Pleasant Public Schools School Board said the staff member who cut Jurnee’s hair was reprimanded and an independent independent investigation determined that despite the “good intentions” of the employee who had 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 did not report it. The three employees have apologized, the board said.
The school board said the independent investigation found no racial bias and included interviews with district staff, students and families, as well as a review of videos and photos, including posts on the social networks. District administrators also performed an internal review of the incident.
But Hoffmeyer said the district had never questioned him or Jurnee. She now attends another school.
Amy Bond, president of the Mount Pleasant Public Schools School Board, said Thursday that the district had 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 has been conducted,” Bond said in a statement. “We will aggressively defend ourselves against these baseless allegations in court and will not let it distract us from our mission to provide every child with a world-class education that prepares them for college and a career.”
The district is located approximately 150 miles northwest of Detroit. About 4% of Mount Pleasant’s 25,000 residents are black, according to the US census.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.