Local News

A Michigan school cut a 7-year-old biracial girl’s hair

In March 2021, Jurnee Hoffmeyer, a 7-year-old biracial student, had her hair cut by staff at her elementary school, leaving her feeling different and uncomfortable among her peers. Jurnee questioned why this was happening to her, expressing her confusion and unease.

The haircut incident stemmed from a prior occurrence on the school bus, where another student cut Jurnee’s hair with scissors. Jurnee’s father, Jimmy Hoffmeyer, voiced his concerns to the principal and took her to a hair salon, where her hair was styled into an asymmetrical cut. However, just two days later, Jurnee returned home with both sides of her hair cut.

As a result, Jurnee’s father decided to withdraw her from the school. In September 2021, he filed a $1 million federal lawsuit against Mount Pleasant Public Schools, naming librarian Kelly Mogg and teaching assistant Kristen Jacobs, both of whom are white, as defendants.

The lawsuit consisted of ten counts, including racial discrimination in violation of the Michigan Civil Rights Act, ethnic intimidation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and violation of the 14th Amendment. Several months later, the case was settled.

Although a third-party investigation acknowledged that cutting Jurnee’s hair on school grounds, with or without parental permission, was a clear violation of school policy, it concluded that Mogg did not act with racial bias and was not terminated from her position. Yahoo News attempted to reach out to the Mount Pleasant Public Schools Board of Education for comment.

On Thursday, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the Crown Act, officially known as Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, into law. With this act, Michigan becomes the 20th state to ban discrimination based on natural hair texture in both the workplace and school settings.

Addressing the signing ceremony, Governor Whitmer stated, “For too long, Black communities have been told to control their hair or to make it conform to white standards, adhering to unspoken rules rooted in prejudice.”

The Crown Act expands the state’s existing Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, established in 1976, by safeguarding hair texture and various hairstyles, including locks, braids, and twists, which hold historical significance within racial communities.

According to a study conducted by Dove that examines children’s experiences with hair bias, 66% of Black girls in predominantly white schools report instances of race-based hair discrimination. Shockingly, around 86% of these children experience such discrimination by the age of 12.

State Senator Sarah Anthony commented, “Hair discrimination is a lived reality for many Michiganders of color, particularly in the Black community,” following the passing of the Crown Act by the House earlier this month.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button