Two other employees knew that the library staff planned to cut the girl's hair, but didn't do anything to stop her.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on September 17, 2021. It has since been updated.
When seven-year-old Jurnee came back home from school on March 24, 2021, her father Jimmy Hoffmeyer was shocked to see that a lot of her hair had been shabbily cut on one side. An upset Jurneed confided in her dad that a classmate used scissors to cut her hair on the school bus, Hoffmeyer told The Associated Press.
The angry dad decided to let the principal of Mount Pleasant Public Schools know what had happened to his daughter. The school called after the bus incident and “said 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,” he said.
He then took Jurnee to the salon so she could get her hair styled with an asymmetrical cut to make the differing lengths less obvious. However, two days later, she came back home crying, and the father noticed that the other side of her hair had been cut, too. A library employee had chopped it off.
“She was crying,” Hoffmeyer said. “She was afraid of getting in trouble for getting her hair cut.”
"I asked what happened and said 'I thought I told you no child should ever cut your hair,'" Hoffmeyer said at the time, per USA Today. "She said 'but dad, it was the teacher.' The teacher cut her hair to even it out."
The furious dad went back to the principal for a second time, but the explanations he has received from the principal and the district have done little to appease him, because he was told him the most that could happen to the library teacher was a note in her work file. He even filed an incident report with the Mount Pleasant police, but not one officer contacted him to follow up on the issue.
According to Fox 13, Hoffmeyer—who has two other daughters, ages 8 and 4— said both the girl and the teacher who cut his daughter's hair are White. Jurnee is biracial as her dad is Black and White, and her mom is White. “I’m not one to try to make things about race,” he said. “I’ve pretty much grown up with only white people, myself.”
It was also revealed that two other employees knew the library staff had plans to cut Jurnee's hair, but kept mum. Though they did apologize for it, Hoffmeyer wasn't satisfied, or convinced. So, he filed a a $1 million lawsuit against the school district, a librarian and a teacher’s assistant.
The lawsuit against Mount Pleasant Public Schools alleges that the biracial girl’s constitutional rights were violated, racial discrimination, ethnic intimidation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and assault and battery.
The 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," according to the lawsuit.
Hoffmeyer moved his daughter to a private school after the scarring incident.
Cover Image Source: YouTube | BNC News (Father of 7-year-old says his daughter's hair was cut by classmate, teacher