As much as we try to make the world a safe and loving place, there is still plenty of work that needs to be done. It’s sadly pretty common for children to be picked on or made fun of for being different at school, but teachers and staff are supposed to encourage their students to treat each other with kindness and respect. This unfortunately was not the case for a 7-year-old biracial girl by the name of Jurnee Hoffmeyer.
Jurnee went to school one day in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, in March 2021 and came home upset that another student on the bus had cut her long, curly hair without permission. Her father took her to the salon that same day to get her hair cut and styled well enough to satisfy them both, and her dad made sure to tell her that no student was ever allowed to touch her hair again. Jurnee’s father Jimmy Hoffmeyer is also biracial and her mother is white.
Shortly after, Jurnee came back home from school upset with her hair cut again, but this time it was done by a teacher. Her dad was furious. The story has since made its way to news outlets across the nation and has been garnering plenty of attention. Jimmy has even gone as far as to file a $1 million lawsuit against the school district, a librarian and a teacher’s assistant in September 2021 for what happened to his daughter. He hopes to get justice for his child and raise awareness about the situation.
Her Hair Was Cut Without Permission
According to Fox 2, Jimmy filed a $1 million lawsuit against the Mount Pleasant Public Schools District, a librarian and a teacher’s assistant on Sept. 14, 2021, after his daughter’s hair was cut without her permission. The lawsuit alleges racial discrimination, ethnic intimidation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault and battery and that Jurnee’s constitutional rights were violated.
Back in March 2021, Jurnee had come home from Ganiard Elementary School with much of the hair on one side of her head cut by a classmate on the school bus. Jimmy filed a complaint with the school’s principal and took his 7-year-old daughter to the salon to get her hair fixed. Just two days later, the young girl’s hair was cut again.
Jimmy explained, “I asked what happened and said, ‘I thought I told you no child should ever cut your hair.’ She said ‘But dad, it was the teacher.’ The teacher cut her hair to even it out.” At first, Jimmy expressed that he wasn’t sure if race played a factor in his daughter’s hair getting cut without her permission, but noted that both the student and teacher who cut her hair were white while Jurnee is biracial. The school district is also predominantly white.
Fox 2 reported that the Mount Pleasant Public Schools Board of Education found that the teacher who cut Jurnee’s hair had “good intentions,” but did concede that they still violated school policy since the worker cut the child’s hair without getting her parents’ permission first.
Although the school board conducted an investigation and found that there was no racial bias, Jimmy explained that the district never questioned him or his daughter on the matter. Jurnee now attends another school.
Jurnee’s case is not the only recent instance of a teacher cutting their student’s hair without the permission of the parent.
Jonathan Battle is a 17-year-old teenager diagnosed with autism and living in Indiana. As the Kansas City Star reported in September 2021, the teenager had been growing his hair out in order to achieve a particular hairstyle once it reached a certain length. He had only been waiting for his next paycheck so he could get it braided at a haridresser’s.
Sadly, before this could happen, a teacher at Jonathan’s high school decided to cut the boy’s hair short.
His mother, Nikki Battle, told Wish TV: “Jonathan said that the gym teacher cut his hair? I’m like, why did you cut his hair? I’m asking (Jonathan) this, he said, ‘He wanted me to look fresh.’ I’m like, no one consulted with me first.”
Nikki reached out to Jonathan’s school and was told the teacher had only acted with the best of intentions: “It is not uncommon for school personnel to go above and beyond to meet the needs of students outside of the classroom. The staff member in question acted with the best of intentions to support the student.”
Nikki, however, refused to believe this. She especially mentioned the fact that the teacher had cut his face while giving the haircut and her son’s less than happy reaction.
“As a parent, as a person, as a human being, I am hurting for him. Because when he was so upset that he started crying in the car, I was done,” she mentioned and went on to add: “That teacher had no right to put his hands nowhere … on my child’s body.”