A Michigan father expressed outrage after his 7-year-old, Biracial daughter’s hair was cut by white staff members at her school without asking permission.
Jimmy Hoffmeyer, of Mount Pleasant, said the incident occurred just before Spring Break. After he confronted administrators at the school, he was left even more confused by their response. Now, he’s demanding answers.
A Father Is Searching for Answers After His Bi-Racial Daughter’s Hair Was Cut Three Separate Times While She Was at School.
Hoffmeyer told WJRT that his daughter, Jurnee, got three haircuts that week: one from another student, one from an actual hairstylist, and the third one from her teacher. The final haircut left the 7-year-old in tears which caused her concerned father to demand accountability.
“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,’” the father told the outlet. He added that he wished someone would have called to him to let him know what had happened.
It must have been a shock for a father to send his daughter off to school with a full head of hair only to have her return with it chopped off. He was told that a kid on Jurnee’s school bus as she rode home from school.
“It was a child and you’re not thinking of any serious consequences having to do with a kid,” the dad explained of the initial incident.
The very same day, Hoffmeyer took his daughter to a salon to have it professionally styled. “We took her to the salon to get it cut as an asymmetrical,” Hoffmeyer told WJRT. “She had a little short here but long still to about her shoulders on this side.”
He sent his daughter off to school the next day and when she returned home to him, even more of Jurnee’s hair was missing. However, it was not a student responsible this time, it was done by a teacher.
“After that teacher cut her hair, she was so embarrassed, so embarrassed that she had to go back to class like that,” the father said of his daughter who was in tears.
“I don’t think there are words to express how I felt in that moment,” Hoffmeyer told The Black Wall Street Times. “I asked if the girl on the bus had cut her hair again, and she said, ‘no. My library teacher cut my hair.’ I couldn’t believe it. I jumped in the car to go to school but realized it was spring break. I couldn’t get ahold of anyone, so I called the cops.”
Calls from Jurnee’s School Principal and the Superintendent Were Less Than Satisfactory for Hoffmeyer.
Days after the dad informed the school of the police report he filed, he received a call from the Principal of Ganiard Elementary School.
“She apologized and said she didn’t know why they would do that,” Hoffmeyer said. “I asked what was going to be done about it and she said they would probably get a mark in their progress folder or something. And that any further actions would need to go through the Superintendent. So, I told her I want the Superintendent to call me.”
“It’s been insulting,” Hoffmeyer admitted of his interactions with the administrator. “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 said.
Would you be happy with apology cards from teachers if this happened to your child? How about a mark on a teacher’s progress folder?
“I would like them to own up to their responsibilities,” he told WJRT. “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.”
Hoffmeyer has since pulled Jurnee from the Ganiard school and enrolled her elsewhere.
Change Could Be Coming Soon In Michigan as Advocacy Groups Are Lobbying for Better Anti-Discrimination Laws.
Jurnee’s story reached the National Parents Union (NPU), an advocacy group that fights for parents in the policy space, and they joined the fight to make sure something like this never happens to another child of color, or any child again.
The NPU Director of Policy and Legislation told Black Wall Street Times, “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.” NPU is currently arranging a civil rights attorney to represent the Hoffmeyer family.
In addition to switching schools, Jurnee has been seeing a counselor as her father noticed a change in his daughter following the incident:
“We’ve had to take her to the doctor because she hasn’t been eating. She’s having trouble sleeping now and always wants to be with us. All of this because her hair didn’t look how they thought it should, wasn’t done to their standards. If you look at pictures of her before this happened, you can just see her spark and her energy. Now it’s like it’s just gone.”
Although it will take time for Jurnee to heal change could be coming soon in Michigan. There are bills in the works to address this issue in Michigan. The Crown Act would modify Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, to make it illegal to discriminate based on hair texture and protective styles like braids, locks, and twists.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
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