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Dad sues school district for $1M after staff cuts daughter’s hair without consent, alleging racial bias

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An irate Michigan father is suing a school district for $1 million because a staff member allegedly cut his biracial daughter’s hair without parental consent.

On Tuesday, Jimmy Hoffmeyer filed a lawsuit against Mount Pleasant Public Schools, a librarian, and a teacher’s assistant claiming racial discrimination, assault, battery, ethnic intimidation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The father was shocked when the 7-year-old girl came home in March from Ganiard Elementary School with her hair butchered. Most of the hair on one side of her head was cut off. The child claimed that a friend on a school bus had cut her hair, the AP reported.

After hearing that, the parents went to the school principal and complained. The father took his daughter, Jurnee, to a hair salon to have her hair styled in an asymmetrical cut in order to even out the botched cut. Then two days later, the child came home with most of her hair cut off on the other side of her head.

“I asked what happened and said ‘I thought I told you no child should ever cut your hair,’” Hoffmeyer remarked when the incident took place. “She said ‘but dad, it was the teacher.’ The teacher cut her hair to even it out.”

(Video Credit: Click On Detroit | Local 4 | WDIV)

The lawsuit was filed in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In it, the father alleges that the school district failed to properly train and supervise its employees. The district claimed in July that the staffer who had cut the child’s hair was reprimanded. An independent third-party investigation determined that despite the “good intentions” of the staffer who cut the girl’s hair, doing so without parental permission and without the knowledge of district administrators violated school policy.

The father contends that the actions of the staff violated his daughter’s constitutional rights.

The incident was not reported by two other employees who were involved. All of them have since apologized.

The school board investigation found no racial bias had occurred.

“We are confident that the facts will prevail given our district’s appropriate and aggressive response to the incident and the findings of the third-party investigation that was conducted,” Amy Bond, who is the president of the Pleasant Public Schools Board of Education asserted in a statement. “We will aggressively defend against these baseless allegations in court and will not allow this to distract us from our mission to provide every child a world-class education that prepares them for college and careers.”

Hoffmeyer told the AP at the time that he was skeptical that an investigation was actually conducted, claiming that the school district never reached out to him or his daughter.

“They never questioned my daughter or me,” he said. “Who did they talk to? Did they really do an investigation?”

Since the incident, the little girl has been placed in another school.

Other parents shared the father’s rage over the incident:

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