A Michigan 7-year-old girl’s father has filed a lawsuit against the school district, a librarian, and a teacher assistant for cutting his daughter’s hair without permission.
According to MLive.com, the lawsuit was filed against Mount Pleasant Public Schools in Grand Rapids on Tuesday.
The report states that the constitutional rights of the biracial girl have been violated. The lawsuit also notes racial discrimination, ethnic bullying, intentional mental distress infliction, assault and battery.
Jimmy Hoffmeyer, who is also bi-racial, reported that his daughter had most of her hair chopped off on one side of her head when she came home from Ganiard Elementary in March.
In April, Hoffmeyer told The Associated Press that his daughter Jurnee reported that a student used scissors to cut her hair on the school bus.
Two days after the bus incident and making complaints to the principal, the girl came home with the other side of her hair chopped off.
“I asked what happened and said, ‘I thought I told you no child should ever cut your hair,'” Hoffmeyer said at the time. “She said, ‘but dad, it was the teacher.’ The teacher cut her hair to even it out.”
According to Hoffmeyer, both the student and teacher who cut her hair are white.
The lawsuit states that 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 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 found 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.
The incident was known to two other employees, but they did not report it. According to the board, all three employees have expressed regret and apologized.
The school board stated that there was no racial bias to the independent investigation; interviews were carried out with local staff, students and the family.
The issue was also internally reviewed by district administration.
But according to Hoffmeyer, neither he nor his daughter was questioned by the district and that Jurnee would be attending another school.