ISABELLA COUNTY, Michigan – A Michigan man is suing his seven-year-old daughter’s school district for $ 1 million after a teacher cuts her hair without parental permission.
According to BBC News, Jimmy Hoffmeyer’s lawsuit against Mt. Pleasant Public Schools includes two staff members from Ganiard Elementary School who helped re-cut his MÃ©tis daughter’s hair after it had already been cut by a barber professional.
Hoffmeyer explained to reporters from BNC News that one day, on the school bus, her daughter, Jurnee, had her long curly hair cut by a classmate.
The childish haircut didn’t look quite right, so it was taken to a hairdresser who gave it an asymmetrical cut to make the different lengths less noticeable.
However, a few days later, Jurnee came home from school with her hair on the other side of her head cut off. Her father said she was crying as he explained that a teacher had cut her hair.
Hoffmeyer was upset and when the school was contacted about his concerns, they launched an investigation into the case.
School officials, however, decided tThe teacher had violated school policy but had not acted in a racist manner. The teacher was subsequently reprimanded, but allowed to keep her job.
Jurnee’s father was not happy with this result.
He has withdrawn his daughter from school and is now filing a lawsuit claiming that her constitutional rights have been violated.
The lawsuit also alleges racial discrimination, ethnic intimidation, the intentional infliction of emotional distress and bodily harm.
Documents filed with the court indicate that 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 alleged behavior given the training, customs, improper procedures, and policies, and the lack of discipline that existed for employees. ”
Hoffmeyer’s reaction to the teacher’s choice to cut his daughter’s hair is likely linked to a widespread history of discrimination against black college students because of the way they wear their hair.
For example, in 2017, a charter school outside of Boston several detentions to 15-year-old black girls who wore their hair in braided extensions, claiming the hairstyle violated the dress code.
In 2018, a referee in New Jersey forced a 16 year old mixed race wrestler cut his dreadlocks or lose his match.
And in 2019, a public elementary school in suburban Atlanta posted multiple photos of black children, including braided girls, to illustrate “inappropriate” haircuts.
As a series of similar stories unfolded across the United States, illustrating that some students were being targeted and penalized for adapting cultural norms to suit the way their hair grows naturally, some lawmakers felt that these students had need protection against discrimination.
For this reason, a number of states have passed laws prohibiting discrimination based on hair styles that are generally associated with a person’s race or nationality.
A few of the states that have implemented these laws include California, New York, and New Jersey.
In the case of Hoffmeyer and Jurnee, the BBC reports that no formal response has yet been filed by the defendants and that there has been no public comment from the school district.