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A school district in central Michigan is in hot water after two White staff members secretly butchered the hair of a biracial first grader. Jimmy Hoffmeyer was shocked to see his seven-year-old daughter walk through the door on March 26. His daughter’s curly hair was chopped within inches of her scalp; the work of women who clearly didn’t have the first idea of how to care for the hair of a Black child.
It was just two days after the Hoffmeyer family had to deal with an unfortunate haircutting incident on the school bus. On March 24, Jurnee Hoffmeyer was on the bus heading home from Ganiard Elementary School in Mount Pleasant, Mich. when a classmate cut her hair. Jurnee’s long curly hair was cut several inches on one side to around shoulder length. When she got home that day, her family was stunned to see what had happened. But Jurnee’s father took her straight to the salon and let her choose a new look.
School staff cuts child’s hair without father’s permission
“I know how today’s society is,” Hoffmeyer said. “I wasn’t going to let my little girl go to school with half of her hair cut off.” Jurnee was upset, but she felt good about being able to choose a new style. Hoffmeyer reached out to the school administration and transportation offices to figure out what happened. He was upset but simply asked that the child not be allowed to sit next to his daughter again.
Two days later, Jurnee walked in crying. Hoffmeyer, clearly shaken, discussed the look on his daughters face that day. “I don’t think there are words to express how I felt in that moment,” Hoffmeyer said. “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 the school but realized it was spring break. I couldn’t get ahold of anyone, so I called the cops.” The library teacher, listed as a media specialist on the school’s website, is Kelly Mogg.
Hoffmeyer emailed Jurnee’s teacher, Kristen Jacobs, to let her know he was filing a police report. Minutes later, he said, the principal’s secretary called him. He recalled the secretary saying she was in “utter disbelief.” But the principal would not be available to talk to him until after spring break – a week later.
Father demands justice
Finally, spring break ended and Hoffmeyer got a call from Ganiard Principal Marcy Stout. “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.” Mount Pleasant Public Schools superintendent is Jennifer Verleger.
Hoffmeyer wanted his daughter out of the school and away from the staff who hurt his daughter. “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 said.
Between the principal, superintendent and teachers, the microaggressions kept coming. “The principal tried to convince us to keep her in the school. She said Jurnee would be safe there and offered to follow her around to make sure nothing happened to her,” said Hoffmeyer. “How is the solution to punish my kid?”
National Parents Union joins the fight
Hoffmeyer continues to face stonewalling from the Mount Pleasant School District. He’s requested to see footage from the bus incident. He was told administrators had viewed it and there was really nothing for him to see. The “we know best” attitude towards this Black father mirrors the paternalistic White supremacy displayed by the staff who cut Jurnee’s hair.
Through the experience, the Hoffmeyer family hasn’t found any allies in the district. But once Jurnee’s story reached the National Parents Union, they leaned all the way in to help get #JusticeForJurnee. In a recent statement, NPU Director of Policy and Legislation said “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 seeking a civil rights attorney for the Hoffmeyer family. They have sent formal requests to the district for evidence from the incident.
In the meantime, Jurnee has switched schools and started going to counseling. “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.”
NPU is calling on Michigan lawmakers to enact the CROWN Act to protect students from this type of racial discrimination.
According to an update from CNN, the Mount Pleasant School District chose not to fire the employee in a lengthy statement which read in part, “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.”
However, the family says they weren’t contacted during any part of the investigation. The family is currently pursuing a state investigation with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.
We cannot discuss the particulars of a complaint while it remains under investigation,” said Vicki Levengood, communications director for the department. “We can say, however, that our Community Engagement Director will be in contact with the school administration again this week to assess the situation and to assist with training and educational opportunities that we believe may help prevent an incident of this type from occurring in the future.”
***On March 24, Jurnee Hoffmeyer was on the bus heading home from Ganiard Elementary School in Mount Pleasant, Mich. when a classmate cut her hair. Jurnee’s long curly hair was cut several inches on one side to around shoulder length.***
After reading this the question should be why did the child that cut Jurnee hair in the first place have “scissors” on the bus. Are not scissors consider a weapon in this day and age!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And for any teacher touching another person assault !!!!!!!!!!!
A child, has been victimized and violated. The institution and offender alarmingly dismiss both the damage caused by the offense and the ugly motivation behind it. The institution and the offenders must be held legally and financially accountable or they will live forever in their narcissist’s bubble and abuse again.
I think to make amends, the teachers involved all must be required to shave half of their heads bald if they want to keep their jobs. What they did is more than enough of an excuse to fire them. I think these teachers need to be taught a lesson.
BRILLIANT IDEA & FAIR TO ALL CONCERNED! I’ll go one further, and say, “LET’S LET JURNEE DO THE CUTTING OF THEIR HAIR!!”
They had no right to cut that child’s hair. They should indeed have their hair cut to please the parent!
No, they should be fired. They had no rights to cut that child”s hair. Any action about her hair should have been taken up with the parents and still, they had no say in how that child’s hair was styled, as long as it was neat and clean.
They should be fired and loose their license to teach, period! Especially when they demonstrate bias, negligent, abusive, hateful, racist behavior towards someone they are entrusted to have authority over, like a vulnerable defenseless child. Why take the risk… It’s was a humiliating hair cut this time, who’s to say what cruel act it will be the next time. Hate and evil go hand-in- hand!!
Totally agree with Cora. I would add a request to allow me to have at her head of hair along with a pair of scissors or a razor, her choice.
That is assault on a 7 year old, the teachers should be thrown in jail.
I agree that this is assault! Unbelievable! Are there any black teachers or administrators there? They would certainly know how to handle this!!
I agree that the teachers should be fired because they had no right to cut the Charles here who was then to have that authority to do that and not consult with the parents yes I agree they should be fired no questions ask something should be done because the child was harassed by teachers yes I do agree that they need to be fired that’s my opinion about it
There has to be standards in this school district to prevent teachers from ‘cutting’ anything on a students body without parental permission. I’m a white RN and nurses can’t even cut a patients fingernails without a doctors order. These teachers acted criminally and should be treated as such. I hope the parent sues the teachers individually with a civil suit and well as every single member of the school board and administration in the school district. This method is being used in hospitals and is more effective than suing a corporation or public administration. This is a horrific example of physical child abuse on this poor precious young girl.
WELL SAID SIS!!
No child should have to go through this type of treatment because of race, this teachers should be fired!
No teacher has the right to cut a students hair !!!! If they think the hair is not maintained or needs attention ,call the parents . They have no right to think they can take matters into their own hands period … They need to face consequences for their actions
I agree 100%!!
I agree, there is no excuse for what has happened to this precious child. They should all lose their jobs and pay for the trauma this little girl has endured.
This is assault plain and simple. Every day we read stories about teachers losing it in class and pulling humiliating stunts like this. These people should never be allowed near children again. Maybe they should have to forfeit their retirement to their victims then maybe be they will stop humiliating and psychologically abusing the children they are supposed to be preparing for life. Or is that the life they want them to have. DISGUSTING. Firing them should be a given.
That is terrible! I think they need to be fired and criminal charges brought against the people who cut her hair! That is so sad I am so sorry to hear your precious daughter had to experience something like that! I am in tears for her. I hope that they pay financial costs for doctors and the pain she has caused she needs to be paid – which will not wash this away – the poor dear will be scarred by this and this is so sad ! The school should give her a free ride through college as well! What is the problem with people these days !? I am just sorry again for the ignorance of people! No one deserves to be mistreated !! Some (bad) people needs to wake up and treat people with respect and compassion. Treat people nice and do unto others as you want done to you. They should shave the hair off those that cut your daughters hair! This is unacceptable that this even happened. I hope all gets better !
Black, White, Bi-racial, Chinese, Indian Whatever race is a moot point and is not necessarily needed in this story. My grandson, who is white with blond hair, his nanny who was Puerto Rican , decided he needed a haircut. Didn’t ask the parents. Looked like she cut it off with a lawnmower. NOT ACCEPTABLE for any race child by any race care giver. PERIOD. The teachers should be immediately fired. The child is young enough to get over any trauma she may have had, but I’m sure the parents are egging her on. Will she get millions for this one event…..firing the women involved should lose their jobs and the parents should get a reasonable compensation for getting upset. Stop making everything about race. This was just a case of pure stupidity on the part of the women…..
It was about race and hair texture. Wake up! If it had been a white child or any other race than black, this wouldn’t have happened! Someone probably complained that her hair was too big, or couldn’t see behind her or something. Only racist people say it’s not about race!
Shawn- I’m a teacher ,and am without words that a school employee would even THINK of doing this! Shocking! I read several accounts of the incident though, and none of them lend to “texture of her hair”. The bus incident unfortunately is childhood foolishness. I can’t even remember all of the students over the years that tried ( or succeeded) in cutting their own ,or a classmate’s hair. I’m dismayed the driver didn’t notice, or it wasn’t reported . I sincerely hope the student was punished and the parents supported. ( An unfortunate number make excuses for their kids’ misbehavior.) In our district , both the principal and Supt. would’ve gladly returned a call over spring break. The poor secretary was paraded out there to try and smooth things over. And the librarian?? There is no excuse- none! Whatever her”reason” …”even-ing it out”?? One hundred percent she would’ve been fired. I would’ve liked to have the librarian in a meeting with Dad and daughter offering a heartfelt apology,; acknowledging she was entirely wrong. I agree with the above commenter, that this little gal can make it through this awful incident. Wish I could give her a big hug. Little kids? That’s one thing. Adults? No excuse.
Stop with the false equivalencies…It is about race. The parents are not making a big deal…it is the school that made race a big deal. And traumatized that beautiful child.
This little girl is 3/4 white, first off. This “father’s” story has changed multiple times. If you look at the pictures, the right profile pic of Jurnee you can clearly see she has a black eye. All pics of Jurnee on the parents fb shows a sad little girl. The father did this to Jurnee as a punishment. That man is not a good person.
I myself am biracial and I was appalled at first until I got the whole story. To disagree that an event is racist does not make someone a racist. I will dismiss thoughts around race when none are warranted. There are plenty of other REAL examples to complain about and stand up to but this situation is just not one of them. So instead of crying white wolf we should at least review the facts and the fact is this wasn’t about being black or white it was about poor judgement and lack of accountability. When I was in first grade I cut off a little girls pigtail because she asked me to. Then she got upset later on and told the teacher. I’m sure she was anticipating how angry her parents would be. I was six and didn’t understand anything other than I was asked to do something. Does what I did make me anti-white?? No it does not. And if you knew the whole story you would know that this little girl asked these people to cut her hair. Maybe she wanted a new hairstyle. That teacher should have known better and should be disciplined but to say this is about race is just plain ridiculous. Bring your pitchforks somewhere else.
You’re a racist, that’s why you don’t understand and why it triggers you to see anything focused on race. Why are you here trying to compare? Your opinion on the matter is wholly irrelevant.
Sounds like Shawn and Denise are racists. There is only one side of the story presented. If completely true the teacher and school should be in trouble. But no context presented. Hold judgement till later.
You would judge a black person first but always hold space to hear the whole story for a white person, strange. There doesn’t need to be “context” for an assault on a CHILD because there is literally nothing that can excuse this. WTF is wrong with you? Oh wait I know….racist.
The offending teachers should have THEIR hair cut by the kindergarten class..let’s see how THEY like it! Make it a teachable moment! Disgraceful!
I think you’re right, but they should be allowed to use clippers & NOT a pair of scissors. SHAVE IT UNEVEN & MADE NOT TO WEAR NOTHING ON THEIT HEADS TO COVER IT UP!!!
That teacher should have her hair cut off all the way down like she did to that child. That monstrous woman at least should be fired and her hair cut off. WHO DO THESE JEALOUS AND PREJUDICIOUS PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE!!!
If the parents need an expert witness I can testify as one of my consulting areas of expertise is Black hair/body poltics.
This is Emotional Abuse of a Child !
Teacher/ s should have been fired that day !
Emotional abuse can be worse than Physical abuse!
Just think how awesome it would have been, had they just brushed out her hair with water and maybe asked a staff member of color for a little oil or detangler ! This is why my husband and I sent
all our multi-racial children to integrated schools !
WTF is wrong with some white people ????
Just the act alone is assault! You cannot touch anyone without a license and a reason. Chiropractors, hair stylist etc. Without permission its considered assault.and because they didnt like her hair because she is black makes it a hate crime.
I am on the school board meeting and they are saying that the reporting is inaccurate and the school follows all federal and state laws in line with being inclusive. It was just a general statement that they support inclusive learning and good educational outcomes for all students. If this is true than they need to report the accurate story. If the story is it not true the paper can be sued for mis information and needs to report a retraction. I want more details.
How come the parents never took the girl to have her hair fixed? What did it look like after it had been cut on the bus?!
It said that after the bus incident it was above the shoulder some I believe. Then after the women got to her it was like what is seen in the post all.chopped off.
Why aren’t there any pictures of her “new cut” after the bus incident. Shady af!!
Laurie, the story says:
“When she got home that day, her family was stunned to see what had happened. But Jurnee’s father took her straight to the salon and let her choose a new look.”
It don’t matter what color you are, and this racist shit needs to stop. If that was my kid I would have all their jobs. Ppls we are all Americans please start treating each other like good neighbors. No more hate
Brenda, I appreciate that you advocate for no hate, but when you say it doesn’t matter what color you are, you’re dismissing the experience of many marginalized groups in America. For you it may not matter what color your are to you, but to some of us it does. As an African American, it’s often dictated to me how I should appear, speak, exist to be successful in America. African Americans can’t take an incident like this and remove the lens of our shared experience. For us, race matters. We don’t have the privilege of not considering it as a factor.
Need to be fired. What to some seems so minor and insignificant is a violation of this child’s civil rights. Public official chose to violate this child and to me that seems like there was no thought to provide her with protection . I’d sue the school district. This is very different than a babysitter cutting a child’s hair. These people are public officials .
Everything else aside, this is assault. Did the police get involved?
Drag these teachers out on the street and teach them a lesson!
This breaks my heart!! Not to mention They ruined that baby girls hair & those curls won’t be the same ever again!! I would be in jail for beating the teachers ass. And happy to take the charge for messing with my baby!!! Truly heartbreaking when is it going to stop are children are off limits!!!!
Child abuse. Throw the book at them and make them the poster child of this horrible act of violence.
That is Child Abuse!!!!!!!!!!! Those teachers need to have charges filed against them for child abuse ???? and fired as teachers ????
Speaking from personal experience and not as legal counsel, I am afraid that in order to protect Jurnee by taking her out of that school, you have lost legal standing. I very much know the turmoil that you know something has to be done to stop this and something has to be done to get your daughter away from this. Sadly, as was explained by our attorneys, it is difficult if not impossible to do both. In my situation, we were able to move my stepson and my children stayed in the school as part of the lawsuit to give us “standing”.
I wish you the best of luck with a lawyer and for those who may be thinking that somebody will get some money? No, it doesn’t work that way. At best, the school will have to pay a highly discounted rate for legal expenses, maybe therapy and a haircut. On the upside, this is when real change can be implemented. In the settlement, ask for specific things that enact change and require monitoring for a period of time. We were able to get OSHA training and sensitivity training for all school employees. Sadly, the past 4 years have undone all the improvements.
This is the most ridiculous “news” I have ever read. Not every darn thing is about race! When I was in First grade a classmate asked me to cut off one of her pigtails so I did. I was six and that’s what she wanted me to do. Then she went crying to the teacher afterwards probably because she realized her parents were going to be mad. Thankfully she finally told the teacher that she asked me to do it so I didn’t get in trouble. The letter that the school sent out explicitly stated that this little girl asked for her hair to be cut. Maybe she wanted a change? The librarian who is a grown adult should have known better and be disciplined but I guarantee you this has nothing to do with race – the girl just happens to be biracial. Get a life and stop trying to find racial issues where there are none. And the reason this little girl is so “scarred” is due to her Fathers reaction or anticipation of his reaction, not from the haircut.
Interesting that you’re quick to dismiss any thoughts around race. Must be nice to have that privilege.
I myself am biracial which is why I even read the article. I was appalled at first until I got the whole story. And yes I am privileged because I was given a brain and I use it. I will dismiss thoughts around race when none are warranted. There are plenty of other REAL examples to complain about and stand up to but this situation is just not one of them. So instead of crying white wolf we should at least review the facts and the fact is this wasn’t about being black or white it was about poor judgement and lack of accountability.
Let me guess, your mother is white?
Since you are biracial, I expect even more compassion from your response. I’m even more disappointed. You don’t know that this wasn’t motivated by race just like I don’t know for sure. Why are you so certain that race didn’t play a factor. I’ll wait for the family to comment before I make such a judgement.
This is a majority white child not a biracial child. Her father is mixed race and has only been raised around white people. This has nothing to do with the Black community. This child will grow up and be treated just like any other white person. Stop it.
This is child abuse and this is Aumahd Aubrey case of the boy that was jailed in Georgia while jogging. Their laws were so old they wasn’t even going to prosecute those men. There are certain places in U.S. small towns that need a really big wake up call. This is 2021 now and we are going to be treat equally and we are going to get justice and when you play with our babies your setting a crime scene. Those parents are generous that that’s all they did because I have two children and I would kill for them
Shut the school down!!!!
You are all nuts. Go after the little girl that cut it first and stop making this a racist event. This girl went crying to the teacher and asked for help cause she was afraid to go home. Her freaking hair will grow. They tried to help her not hurt her. This article and the comments make me sick. Go after the kid that cut her hair after stealing the scissors from a teacher.
No adult has the right to touch a child. Go after the teacher and go after the school legally. Had they stepped in This would not be happening.
This is not about racism, it’s about school staff overstepping their boundaries by cutting the child’s hair against her wishes. They should be punished accordingly.
Kelly Mogg better go into hiding. If I got my hands on her she wouldn’t have any hair left. I would rip it out one by one and see how she likes it.
A shameful incident.
It’s destroy teacher-students relationship.
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