The father of a seven-year-old girl whose hair was cut by a teacher without parental consent is demanding $1m (£724,000) in damages.
The lawsuit filed on 14 September in federal court in Michigan, by Jimmy Hoffmeyer on behalf of his daughter Jurnee, accuses a librarian and a teacher’s assistant at Ganiard Elementary School.
He has also made accusations of racial discrimination, ethnic intimidation and intentional infliction of emotional distress - and that his daughter's constitutional rights were violated.
Hoffmeyer, who is Black, said his daughter’s hair was cut by a fellow student on a school bus in March. Hoffmeyer took his daughter to a hairdresser to correct the uneven chop. Days later, he said, nearly all his daughter’s hair had been cut, this time by school staff, who were white.
The local school board described the allegations as "baseless" and said it would "aggressively defend" them in court.
Mr Hoffmeyer said his daughter Jurnee, who is mixed race, arrived home from school in March with much of the hair on one side of her head cut.
A complaint was made to the principal and Jurnee's hair was restyled at a salon to make the differing lengths less obvious.
Hoffmeyer’s lawsuit alleges that the school district “failed to properly train, monitor, direct, discipline and supervise their employees.
In July, the Mount Pleasant public schools board of education said the teacher who cut the hair was still employed but had been reprimanded.
An independent investigation, it said, found “no evidence the incident was motivated by racial bias”. But while the teacher had “good intentions”, the board said, cutting a student’s hair without parental permission or the school’s knowledge was a violation of policy.