An unapproved haircut might become an extremely expensive one; a Michigan father seeks one million dollars in financial restitution after an unapproved haircut by an employee at his daughter’s school garnered only a “reprimand” from district officials. As The Root first reported in April, Jimmy Hoffmeyer pulled 7-year-old daughter Jurnee out of Ganiard Elementary in Mount Pleasant after two separate incidents resulted in the biracial girl’s hair being nearly shorn from her head, first by a classmate and soon after by a librarian who took it upon herself to “even out” the asymmetrical haircut Hoffmeyer had gotten for his daughter as a corrective measure.
“I asked what happened and said ‘I thought I told you no child should ever cut your hair,’” said Hoffmeyer at the time. “She said ‘but dad, it was the teacher.’ The teacher cut her hair to even it out.”
When we updated the story in July, Mount Pleasant Public Schools had determined that the incident was a case of “good intentions” gone awry. Despite a representative from the National Parents Union comparing the treatment of Jurnee, whose father is biracial (Black and white) and mother is white, to a “modern day scalping,” a school board investigation dismissed racial bias as a factor. Instead, the poor decision-making of the librarian and a teacher’s assistant who was also present was dismissed with a reprimand for exercising “a major lack of judgment” and violating school policy. Both employees are white.
“The employees involved have acknowledged their wrong actions and apologized,” a statement from school board officials said in part.
Unsatisfied, on Tuesday, Jimmy Hoffmeyer filed a $1 million lawsuit against the school district, a librarian and a teacher’s assistant in federal court, according to NBC News (h/t MLive.com), which reported: “It alleges that the biracial girl’s constitutional rights were violated, racial discrimination, ethnic intimidation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and assault and battery.”
More on the lawsuit from NBC:
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,” according to the lawsuit.