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Father of girl whose hair was cut at school speaks out

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    MT. PLEASANT, Michigan (WNEM) — The family of the little girl whose hair was cut at school without her parent’s permission is frustrated.

What happened to Jurnee Hoffmeyer at Ganiard Elementary turned into controversy that attracted attention from around the nation and prompted an apology from the Mt. Pleasant School District.

Jimmy Hoffmeyer said his 7-year-old daughter just isn’t the same after getting a controversial haircut.

“She doesn’t really eat much. She doesn’t like pictures,” Hoffmeyer said.

Now, he wants legislation to put something in place to stop things like this from happening to people of color.

“She don’t do Tik-Tok videos no more. She, she doesn’t like her appearance,” Hoffmeyer said.

Jurnee initially got her curly locks cut by a fellow classmate on the school bus. After that, her parents took her to a salon to correct the cut.

Days later, Mt. Pleasant Public Schools say Jurnee asked a school library employee to fix her haircut, and the student’s teacher was aware of it. The superintendent said this was done without permission from the girl’s parents or the school district.

Hoffmeyer said the school is placing too much blame on his child.

“Whether or not she had said that, the adult still had the choice to make the right decision and contact the parent and they chose not to,” Hoffmeyer said.

Mt. Pleasant Public Schools has now launched a full review of the incident. Hoffmeyer said the school never offered him a personal apology, but in a letter to the district this week, the superintendent said both employees have admitted their actions and apologized, and she personally apologized to the family.

“I’m pursuing to get a lawyer, to get a civil rights lawyer, so that I can actually get justice,” Hoffmeyer said.

This situation is why Christina Laster with the National Parents Union wants the Crown Act to become a federal law. The law would amend the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include and protect traits historically associated with race, like hair texture and hairstyles.

“She was violated,” Laster said.

There is currently legislation drafted to make the Crown Act a Michigan state law. Laster said if put in place, it would make people think twice before touching someone’s hair.

“Create an environment where you have to consider introspectively your biases. And what is causing you to act this way,” Laster said.

Hoffmeyer said he isn’t sure if the haircut was racially motivated, but he does know his little girl is begging for her long hair again.

“She said that it would make her feel more like a girl again, ’cause right now she just feels like a little boy,” Hoffmeyer said.

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