Father files $1M lawsuit against school after staff cuts daughter’s hair
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (WNEM) - A father is suing a Michigan school district because staff cut his daughter’s hair without his permission.
Seven-year-old Jurnee Hoffmeyer had asked a library employee for the haircut in March. However, her father Jimmy Hoffmeyer said staff should have picked up the phone before picking up the scissors.
“They kind of brushed it off as an incident that kind of just happens. Well, it doesn’t just kind of happen that a child goes to school and a teaching staff decides to cut her hair,” said Shawndrica Simmons, the attorney for family.
Simmons filed a $1 million federal lawsuit this week against Mount Pleasant Public Schools on behalf of Jimmy Hoffmeyer and Jurnee.
The suit alleges that the school district committed racial discrimination, assault and battery as well as violating Jurnee’s constitutional rights.
She allegedly had pain and experienced emotional distress, mental anguish, humiliation, and embarrassment.
“Jurnee had long, flowing curls. She’s a biracial child. She had nice, flowing curls. And so, for someone to think that they should be able to cut those - what could go through someone’s head to justify cutting that child’s hair?” Simmons said.
The district reprimanded three employees involved with the haircut. They also already released findings from a third-party investigation that said, although this happened without parental knowledge and in violation of school policy, there is no evidence it was motivated by racial bias.
School administrators say they will work to make sure an incident like this never happens again.
That is what Simmons said she is working toward as well, and she thinks that this lawsuit is the way to make it happen.
“The environment and the culture at Mount Pleasant School District obviously needs to change, because there’s no way that a school district in 2021 should think that cutting a minor child’s hair at school is not a big deal,” she said.
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