A Michigan father is upset after a white Michigan teacher took it upon herself to cut his biracial daughter’s hair last month.
Jimmy Hoffmeyer moved his 7-year-old daughter, Jurnee, from one school to another after a classmate and the teacher cut her hair.
Jurnee arrived home from school March 24 with much of her hair cut on one side. She said a classmate used scissors to cut it on the school bus, the father said.
Two days later, after having her hair styled at a salon with an asymmetrical cut to make the differing lengths less obvious, she arrived home with her hair cut on the other side.
“I asked what happened and said ‘I thought I told you no child should ever cut your hair,’” Hoffmeyer said, according to the Associated Press. “She said, ‘but dad, it was the teacher.’ The teacher cut her hair to even it out.”
The school’s principal told Hoffmeyer the most that could happen to the library teacher was a note in her work file, he said.
Hoffmeyer received a call from the district’s superintendent about a week later after the school’s spring break. She offered to have “I’m sorry” cards mailed to the family.
“I got mad and hung up,” he said, according to the Associated Press.
Days later, the school superintendent, Jennifer Verleger, posted a letter online to parents explaining that the district planned to “conduct a full review” of the incident.
“Regardless of their good intentions, these actions are unacceptable and show a lack of judgment on the part of our two employees,” Verleger said in the letter. “Both employees have admitted their actions and apologized. Both are being reviewed for further disciplinary actions in accordance with our school policies and procedures. I have personally apologized to the family on behalf of the school district.”
Jurnee isn’t alone in having a white teacher touch her natural hair. A Black student in Ohio felt “embarrassed” after a white teacher asked to touch her hair. In another incident, a teacher in Maryland combed a Black student’s natural hair because the teacher became “distressed by the condition of a student’s unkempt appearance.”
Hoffmeyer reached out to the National Parents Union earlier this month. The group is petitioning the Biden Administration to support CROWN Act legislation at the federal level.
The CROWN Act — which stands for Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair — seeks to ban hair discrimination and has been adopted in several states, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia and Washington.