The story of Jurnee, a 7-year-old biracial girl in Michigan who had her hair cut at school by a teacher without her parents’ permission, went viral a few months ago due to widespread outrage in response to what happened to the daughter.
Now, the story is back in the spotlight after the young girl’s father launched a lawsuit alleging his daughter’s constitutional rights were violated in the incident.
Jimmy Hoffmeyer filed a $1 million lawsuit in federal court in Grand Rapids against Mount Pleasant Public Schools, naming the school district, a teacher’s assistant, and a librarian as at fault for his daughter’s situation.
According to USA Today, the lawsuit alleges the girl’s constitutional rights were violated. In addition, she experienced ethnic intimidation, racial discrimination, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault, and battery stemming from an incident in March.
In March, Jimmy, who is Black and white, said that his biracial daughter, Jurnee, arrived home from Ganiard Elementary school one afternoon with some hair missing on the one side of her head. When he asked her what happened, the dad said his daughter told him a classmate used scissors to cut her hair on the school bus.
The dad alerted the school’s principal to what took place on the school bus. Jimmy also said he took his daughter to the salon to have her hair styled, choosing an asymmetrical cut to hide the uneven sides from the school bus cut.
Two days later, Jimmy said his daughter returned home from school and her hair had been cut again, but not by a student time. “I asked what happened and said, ‘I thought I told you no child should ever cut your hair,'” he said to the news station at the time. “She said, ‘but dad, it was the teacher.’ The teacher cut her hair to even it out.” According to the dad, the teacher and student who cut his daughter’s hair were both white.
After the incident in March, the school board launched an independent investigation and concluded no racial bias. However, the dad doesn’t feel the same way, as noted by 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,” the lawsuit reads.
Since the incident, the school employees and board apologized to Jurnee, and her parents transferred her to a new school.