hair being cut

Father outraged after teacher cut his daughter’s hair without permission

Seven-year-old Jurnee Hoffmeyer came home crying with her haircut. Her father, Jimmy Hoffmeyer, was appalled. This was the second “haircut” Jurnee received in two days. On March 24, a classmate used scissors to snip her hair into a “one side cute” on the school bus. After Jimmy complained to the principal and brought Jurnee to a salon for an asymmetrical cut (to hide the choppy lengths), Jurnee came home with even shorter hair. This time, a teacher cut his daughter’s hair to even it out. 

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July 8, 2021 editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect that an investigation conducted by a third party into this incident found no racial bias on the part of the employee who cut the child’s hair.

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Teacher Cuts Daughter’s Hair Without the Father’s Permission

After the bus haircut, the school told Jimmy that “the little girl stole the scissors off the teacher’s desk, and they were going to talk to the parents and deal with it accordingly.”

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Jurnee is biracial, with stunning golden curls. The teacher who had cut her hair was the school librarian, who is also a licensed cosmetologist, but according to the principal, the most that could happen is a note in the librarian’s work file.

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She [the principal] said she didn’t have the authority to do anything,” Hoffmeyer explained. “She kept asking me what she could do to make it go away.” [1]

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Hoffmeyer filed an incident report with the police, but no one yet followed up with him. He did receive a call from the district’s superintendent. She offered to send apology cards to the family.

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“I got mad and hung up,” said Hoffmeyer, who’s also biracial, while Jurnee’s mother is white. Meanwhile, the classmate and teacher who cut his daughter’s hair are white.

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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.”

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Unfortunately, he didn’t know the haircut happened until Jurnee came home, crying and afraid of getting into trouble. He also struggled to learn exactly what happened.

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Discriminating Hair Texture and Styles

I’m not one to try to make things about race,” Hoffmeyer said. “I’ve pretty much grown up with only white people, myself.

According to the U.S. Census, about 4% of Mount Pleasant’s 25,000 population are Black. There are bills in progress to modify Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to make it illegal to discriminate based on hair texture and styles.

When the student cut his daughter’s hair, Hoffmeyer didn’t think too much of it. “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,” he said. But his patience ran out the second time. “After that teacher cut her hair, she was so embarrassed. So embarrassed. Because she had to go back to class like that.”

He contacted the school many times to find out exactly what happened but most of his questions went unanswered at first. Although he got an apology, the school won’t show him the video of what happened during both haircuts.

“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.”

Read: Outrage as kids aged eight and 13 ‘marry and move in together’ with parents’ blessing

Taking Accountability

Since then, District Superintendent Jennifer Verleger confirmed the story and added that Jurnee’s teacher knew about the librarian’s intentions to cut her hair. The haircut was given with no permission from Jurnee’s parents or the school’s administration. Apparently, the teachers thought they were helping the student, claiming she asked for a haircut because she didn’t like her hairstyle. 

Regardless of their good intentions, these actions were unacceptable and show a lack of judgment on the part of our two employees,” Verleger said in the statement. ”Both are being reviewed for further disciplinary actions in accordance without school policies and procedures.” [2]

They have since apologized to the Hoffmeyer family for their actions.  Soon after, Hoffmeyer moved Jurnee into a different school and is considering enrolling her into private school. He is also working with the National Parents Union, a national network of parents that advocate for improvement in the quality of life for children. Christina Laster, the director of policy and legislation of the union, believes the teachers involved were outspokenly critical about the girl’s hair texture and style.

I believe that perhaps what took place — and based on my communications with the family — what really took place is that children started to adopt that same judgmental mentality about Jurnee’s hair, which then turned into this incident that really got out of control quick.” [3]

Investigation finds no racial bias

On July 2, 2021, Mount Pleasant Public Schools released a statement stating a third-party investigation concluded that there was no racial bias at play when the biracial student’s hair was cut by a school staff member. The investigation included interviews with students, parents, and district personnel. The investigation also reviewed social media posts, video, and photographic evidence. But according to the investigation, the school staff member violated school policy.

“Cutting a student’s hair on school grounds either with or without parent permission is a clear violation of school policy,” the school district wrote in its statement. “As a result of the district’s investigation, the employee who cut the student’s hair will be placed on a “last chance” agreement during which time any future violations will likely result in termination.”

Keep Reading: Headteacher bans the phrase ‘good morning boys and girls’

Sources

  1. “Father outraged after teacher cut his daughter’s hair without permission.WILX. Cheri Hardmon. April 20, 2021
  2. “Father angry after teacher cuts biracial daughter’s hair.” ABC News. Corey Williams. April 21, 2021
  3. “Teachers cut Michigan 7-year-old’s hair without father’s permission.” ABC11. April 22, 2021
  4. MPPS Board of Education Statement from Friday, July 2, 2021″ Mount Pleasant Schools

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