MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (WJRT) - A Mount Pleasant father is outraged after he said the staff at his bi-racial daughter’s school cut the 7-year-old’s hair without his permission recently.
Jimmy Hoffmeyer said the incident happened just before spring break. When he talked with someone from the school about what happened, he said it left him just as confused.
UPDATE: School district explains why staff member cut 7-year-old’s curly locks
Hoffmeyer said his daughter got three haircuts that week -- one from another student, one from an actual hairstylist and a third one from her teacher. The last one sent her home in tears and her father demanding answers.
“Our kind of hair, you can’t just wet down and cut it because and that’s when I feel like they should have, even if they were trying to do it in the kindest of their heart, once they seen the outcome, they should have been like, yeah we messed up,” he said. “We should probably call him and let him know what just happened.”
Hoffmeyer is waiting for explanation as to how his daughter Jurnee was sent to school on a Wednesday with a full head of hair and came home a few days later missing most of her locks. He said the first cut was by another student on the bus ride home.
“I mean, I chalked it up because it was a child and you’re not thinking of any serious consequences having to do with a kid,” Hoffmeyer said.
He took the 7 year old, who hair had been down her back, to a salon that same day.
“So what we did is we took her to the salon to get a cut as an asymmetrical,” Hoffmeyer said. “She had a little short here, but long still talking about her shoulders on this side.”
He then sent her off to school. The next time he saw his daughter, she was missing a lot more hair and was in tears. Jurnee said this haircut wasn’t at the hands of another student -- this time it was by her teacher.
“After that teacher cut her hair, she was so embarrassed. So embarrassed. Because she had to go back to class like that,” Hoffmeyer said.
He contacted the school multiple times to find out exactly what happened and why a teacher would cut his child’s hair at school without permission. But he said those questions have gone unanswered.
Hoffmeyer said he received an apology, but the school won’t show him video of what happened either on the bus or in the school.
“I would like them to own up to their responsibilities,” he said. “Like, we’ve been asking as a public apology for the most part to let Jurnee know that yes they acknowledge that it was wrong and that it should have never been done and that she should never have been through something like this.”
Jurnee is now enrolled at a different school. The superintendent of Mount Pleasant Public Schools did not return three calls seeking comment about the situation on Monday.
The school board is meeting Monday evening and Hoffmeyer plans to attend in hopes of getting answers there.
There are bills in the works to address this issue in Michigan. The Crown Act would modify Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, making it illegal to discriminate based on hair texture and protective styles like braids, locks and twists.
The bill was re-introduced in the Michigan House in February and is currently being considered by the Government Operations Committee.
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