Dad sues school for racial bias for cutting daughter’s hair


The father of the biracial 7-year old Michigan girl whose school librarian cut her hair without her parents’ permission in March is suing the school district, librarian and a teacher’s assistant for $1 million alleging racial bias.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court on Tuesday in Grand Rapids against the Mount Pleasant Public Schools by the girl’s father Jimmy Hoffmeyer, who is half black and half white, first reported by MLive.com.

It alleges the girl’s constitutional rights were violated, racial discrimination, ethnic intimidation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and assault and battery.

The incident occurred in March when 7-year-old Jurnee came home from school with one side of her hair lopped off. Jurnee said a classmate had cut her hair, and the disgruntled family brought her to a hair salon to even it out.

Just two days later, after complaining about the incident to the school’s principal, Jurnee returned home in tears from Ganiard Elementary School after a librarian, who is white, cut her hair again. Jurnee’s mother is also white.

“I asked what happened and said ‘I thought I told you no child should ever cut your hair,’ ” Hoffmeyer told the Associated Press at the time. “She said ‘but dad, it was the teacher.’ The teacher cut her hair to even it out.”

This undated photo provided by Jimmy Hoffmeyer shows his daughter Jurnee Hoffmeyer, 7, after a classmate and a teacher cut her hair on separate occasions.
Jurnee Hoffmeyer’s hair was cut twice by a classmate and then a librarian.
Jimmy Hoffmeyer via AP

According to the lawsuit, 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 complained of behavior given the improper training, customs, procedures, and policies, and the lack of discipline that existed for employees.”

Hoffmeyer pulled his daughter out of the school following the incident.

In July, an internal investigation by the school district found the librarian did not act with racial bias — but it did place the unnamed employee on a “last chance” employment agreement, meaning any future infraction will likely result in her termination.

Two other school employees were aware of the incident but didn’t report it. They received written reprimands, district officials said.

With Post wires

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