MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. — A Michigan man is suing a school district after his 7-year-old daughter’s hair was cut by a teacher without her parents’ permission, according to a lawsuit.
Jimmy Hoffmeyer is suing Mount Pleasant Schools in federal court in Grand Rapids, the Detroit Free Press reported. The $1 million lawsuit was filed against the school district, a librarian and a teacher’s assistant, the newspaper reported.
Hoffmeyer, the father of a biracial girl, alleges in the lawsuit that his daughter’s constitutional rights were violated, MLive.com reported. The suit also alleges that the girl’s constitutional rights were violated, racial discrimination, ethnic intimidation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and assault and battery, the website reported.
Hoffmeyer said that on March 23, his daughter, Jurnee Hoffmeyer, came home from Ganiard Elementary School with much of the hair on one side of her head cut off. The girl said a female classmate used scissors to cut her hair on a school bus, according to The Associated Press.
Jimmy Hoffmeyer said he took his daughter to a salon to get the girl’s hair styled in an asymmetrical cut to make the differing lengths less obvious, the Free Press reported. He also complained to the principal about the bus incident, the newspaper reported.
Two days after her hair was styled, Jurnee Hoffmeyer came home with the hair on the other side of her head cut, MLive reported.
“I asked what happened and said, ‘I thought I told you no child should ever cut your hair,’” Jimmy Hoffmeyer told the Free Press. “She said, ‘But dad, it was the teacher.’ The teacher cut her hair to even it out.”
In the complaint, the lawsuit states that the school 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.”
Jimmy Hoffmeyer is biracial. The child’s mother is white, and the girl and teacher who cut her hair are also white, the Free Press reported.
In July, the Mount Pleasant Public Schools Board of Education said the staffer who cut Jurnee Hoffmeyer’s hair was reprimanded. The board added that an independent 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.
Jimmy Hoffmeyer told the AP in July that the district never questioned him or his daughter.
“They never questioned my daughter or me,” Hoffmeyer told the AP. “Who did they talk to? Did they really do an investigation?”
Jurnee Hoffmeyer now attends another school.
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