Mom Denise Robinson is suing a residential program called the Little Heroes Group Home in Dracut, Massachusetts, after claiming that a clinician there shaved her daughter’s hair entirely off.
Tru, age 7, whose hair was previously long and curly, lives part-time at Little Heroes. Her mother said her daughter's hair was shaved without her permission.
“For them to do this, it’s very upsetting, not just to me but to her,” Robinson told reporters.
Little Heroes Group Home is operated by the Justice Resource Institute: a nonprofit organization that provides outpatient specialty mental health services to disadvantaged communities. This co-ed intensive group was designed "to provide a home-like environment where children (ages 5 to 11) can develop skills to manage complex trauma or mental health symptoms in order to successfully transition to a permanent placement in the community."
Robinson, whose daughter suffers from severe emotional challenges, was immediately drawn to the program, but nowhere on the organization's website was there any mention of unauthorized salon visits. Imagine Robinson's surprise when she saw her daughter with a buzz cut. That’s when the furious mother reached out to followers on Facebook (in a post that has since been deleted), asking for help.
"Tru was assaulted yesterday at school!" she wrote. "And anyone who knows me knows I never claim racism! But why was my daughter's head shaved?"
Robinson went on to explain that her child is of mixed race and other children of different races did not have their heads shaved. Still, the questions remain: Who gave permission to shave the young girl’s head, and what was their reason for doing so?
According to Little Heroes Home officials, their decision was based on poor hygiene. But Robinson disagrees.
"There was no [hygienic] reason for them to shave my child’s head," she told NECN. Robinson also said that her daughter had no head lice, bed bugs or what she referred to as "rasta locks."
Robinson's attorney, Richard Kendell, said that a volunteer from the program "informed this 7-year-old biracial child that by shaving her head, her hair would grow back straight."
The Little Heroes Home later issued the following statement: "The program employs a diverse staff that is attentive to the needs of all children. Decisions regarding grooming are based on a variety of factors, including hygiene. We cannot provide any information about any individual served by the program under federal and state law."
They added that a review of the circumstances was under way to "determine what occurred and, if necessary, appropriate action will be taken."