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A Michigan father is demanding answers from his local school district after his biracial daughter's hair was reportedly cut on two separate occasions without consent or permission — once by a classmate, and once by a teacher.
Jimmy Hoffmeyer said his seven-year-old daughter, Jurnee, returned home from Ganiard Elementary School in Mount Pleasant, Mich. on March 24 — with her long, curly blond hair cut noticeably shorter on one side. In an interview with the Associated Press, Hoffmeyer said his daughter told him a classmate had cut her hair on the school bus.
Hoffmeyer took Jurnee to a hair salon to try to repair the asymmetrical cut and complained to his daughter's principal about the incident. Two days later, Jurnee allegedly returned home from school with her hair cut once again.
Hoffmeyer said his daughter was upset and "afraid she was going to get in trouble."
“I asked what happened and said ‘I thought I told you no child should ever cut your hair,’” Hoffmeyer told the Associated Press. “She said ‘but dad, it was the teacher.’ The teacher cut her hair to even it out.”
Hoffmeyer told AP that the principal told him that a student had "stolen a pair of scissors from the teacher's desk and they were going to talk to the parents and deal with it accordingly."
As for the teacher who cut Jurnee's hair without permission, the school allegedly told Hoffmeyer that the most they could do to reprimand the library teacher was add a note to her work file.
“She said she didn’t have the authority to do anything,” he said. “She kept asking me what she could do to make it go away.”
Hoffmeyer filed an incident with his local police department but has reportedly not been contacted regarding his complaint.
The Associated Press reports that Mount Pleasant School Boards has not returned their calls for comment.
In a separate interview with the Black Wall St. Times, a Black-owned digital news outlet, Hoffmeyer said he was contacted by the school's superintendent after he asked for his daughter to be removed from the school.
"It’s been insulting. The superintendent called and sounded very insincere and short. She asked if it would make us feel better if she had the teachers send ‘I’m sorry’ cards in the mail,” Hoffmeyer told the Black Wall St. Times.
According to Hoffman, the principal asked that Jurnee remain in Ganiard Elementary, and offered to have Jurnee followed around to ensure her safety.
Hoffmeyer is now working with the National Parent Union (NPU), a network of parent organizations and activists that advocates for improved quality of life for students across the United States.
Christina Laster, the NPU's Director of Policy and Legislation, saiid the school board "disrespected" Jurnee and her family.
"No child should have to experience this type of humiliating ordeal because of their hair texture, style, or type! The adults entrusted with her learning crossed the line, didn’t protect her, and had no desire to be accountable for their actions, The adults entrusted with her learning crossed the line, didn’t protect her, and had no desire to be accountable for their actions," Laster said in a public statement.