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Father Sues School for $1 Million After Teacher Cuts His Daughter’s Hair Without Permission

A 7-year-old biracial girl’s hair was cut by a fellow student and then by a staffer at the Mount Pleasant elementary school she went to, now the school faces a
$1M lawsuit.

Credit: Katerina Holmes/Pexels

A father in Michigan has filed a $1 million lawsuit against his daughter’s old school, alleging that a teacher cut her hair without her parents’ permission, infringing on her constitutional rights.

On Tuesday, September 14, Jimmy Hoffmeyer filed a $1 million lawsuit against the Michigan-based Mount Pleasant Public Schools, alleging that the incident violated his 7-year-constitutional old’s rights, reported.

The lawsuit comes after Hoffmeyer’s 7-year-old daughter, Jurnee, came back from school in March with uneven cut hair, claiming that a fellow classmate cut her hair on the school bus without her permission. 

According to the suit, Hoffmeyer then took his daughter to a professional who gave her an asymmetrical haircut. Jurnee returned home from school a few days later with nearly all of her hair cut off, down to a couple of inches from her head, according to the lawsuit.

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

According to the lawsuit, 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.”

The Mount Pleasant Public Schools Board of Education announced in July that the staffer who cut Jurnee’s hair had been reprimanded, and that an independent third-party investigation determined that, despite the worker’s “good intentions,” cutting the girl’s hair without her parents’ permission and without the knowledge of district administrators violated school policy.

It claims racial discrimination, ethnic intimidation, deliberate infliction of emotional distress, and assault and battery were all committed against the biracial girl’s constitutional rights.

The independent inquiry, which included interviews with district personnel, students, and families, as well as a study of video and images, including social media posts, revealed no racial bias, according to the school board. The event was also investigated internally by district officials.

According to Hoffmeyer, neither he nor his daughter, who has since switched schools, were interviewed as part of the investigation.

The school board president defended the school’s handling of the incident in response to the complaint.

Superintendent Jennifer Verleger recommended that the teacher should be on “last chance” employment agreement, during which time any future violations “will likely result in termination.”

On behalf of the district, Verleger has personally apologized to Jurnee’s family, MLive reports.

The board added, “Our main goal with the independent investigation was to bring the facts to light, learn from this incident and make our district even stronger.”

“To achieve our mission of providing a world-class education to all MPPS students, we must continuously strive to improve and acknowledge when we have not lived up to our own high standards.”

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