- A father in Michigan filed a $US1 ($AU1) million lawsuit Tuesday against his daughter’s former school.
- The lawsuit claims the school discriminated against his 7-year-old biracial daughter.
- A teacher cut off the girl’s hair earlier this year without her parents’ permission.
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A father in Michigan has filed a $US1 ($AU1) million lawsuit against his daughter’s former school district, claiming her constitutional rights were violated when a teacher cut her hair without her parents’ consent.
Jimmy Hoffmeyer alleges in the suit that his 7-year-old daughter, Jurnee, was racially discriminated against and intentionally inflicted with emotional distress, in addition to assault and battery, according to The Associated Press,
The suit was filed against Mount Pleasant Public Schools, a librarian, and a teaching assistant in federal court in Grand Rapids on Tuesday, MLive.com first reported.
The incident occurred in March when one of Jurnee’s classmates cut her long curly hair without her permission. Hoffmeyer complained to the principal and took Jurnee to a salon, where she was given an asymmetrical haircut. Two days later, Jurnee came home with almost all of her hair cut off, the lawsuit claims.
“I asked what happened and said ‘I thought I told you no child should ever cut your hair,'” Hoffmeyer said, according to AP. “She said ‘but dad, it was the teacher.’ The teacher cut her hair to even it out.”
The lawsuit says the school 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 district’s school board announced in July that a third-party investigation into the incident found the school staff did not act with racial bias, according to MLive.com. It recommended the teacher who cut Jurnee’s hair be disciplined but that she should keep her job.
Hoffmeyer said the investigation did not include interviewing him or his daughter, who has since transferred schools.
In response to the lawsuit, the school board president defended the school’s handling of the incident.
“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,” Bond said, according to AP. “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.”