Father seeks $1M after teacher cut his daughter's hair without permission

Jimmy Hoffmeyer says his daughter was emotionally hurt by the incident.

A Michigan father wants answers after his daughter's hair was cut at school without his permission.

Jimmy Hoffmeyer, father of 7-year-old Jurnee, is looking for justice after a faculty member cut Jurnee's hair at school.

In the alleged incident, which took place in March, Hoffmeyer said Jurnee had just gotten a new, professional asymmetrical haircut after a classmate cut a piece of her hair on the school bus. It was two days later that Hoffmeyer said a teacher cut her hair again, reportedly with the intention of making the differing lengths less obvious.

"How could anyone think they could touch another person's hair?" Hoffmeyer told "Good Morning America." "That's not their child, and get away with it and think that is an OK thing? They assaulted my daughter."

Hoffmeyer said he is now suing two teachers and the school district for $1 million in damages, saying his daughter suffered "mental and emotional distress," "humiliation" and "anxiety" as a result of the incident.

"She is still upset about it. She talks about it all the time like, 'I think it might be grown better daddy,' you know, like she's always speaking, on a daily," said Hoffmeyer, whose daughter identifies as biracial. "Her hair is not the same."

The lawsuit alleges that the incident was racially motivated "with specific intent to intimidate or harass the Plaintiff, because of her race or color, threatened the Plaintiff by word or act; and caused physical contact with the Plaintiff."

"For a long time now we've had circumstances in which we have not been viewed as good enough because of the way we look because of our hairstyle," Herbert Sanders, Hoffmeyer's family attorney told "GMA."

The school launched an independent investigation and ruled that although the teacher, who is white, was wrong, the act was well intentioned.

The school district denied any racial motivation and said in a statement to ABC News they "are confident that the facts will prevail" and "will aggressively defend against these baseless allegations in court and will not allow this to distract [them] from [their] mission to provide every child a world-class education that prepares them for college and careers."

The incident with Jurnee is renewing a push for the Crown Act, a law aiming to protect against discrimination for race-based hairstyles.

"When you're young and you're rejected because of the way your hair grows out of your head, it says something is wrong with you, and that's not OK," said Esi Eggleston Bracey, the chief operating officer of beauty and personal care at Unilever North America. "This is so important for Black people with textured hair, because our hair is our identity. We call it 'crown' -- creating a respectful and open world for natural hair -- because we're trying to create a respectful and open world for all of us."

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