SmackDown: Should Body Piercings Be Allowed in School?
The School Should Stick Its Piercing Rules in a Hole.
by Jessica Samakow
You're entitled to believe anything you want, as long as we agree with your beliefs.
These might as well have been the words spoken to 14-year-old Ariana Iacono by school officials last week when they decided to suspend her for refusing to remove her nose piercing.
North Carolina's Clayton High School insists Ariana's tiny stud is a violation of the school's dress code. The pierced freshman claims her nose stud is an expression of her religion, the Church of Body Modification, which may be unfamiliar to most, but is, in fact, a federally-recognized organization.
"We believe that the mind body soul are all one entity and that by modifying the body, you can bring the mind and soul into harmony," Minister Richard Ivey tells North Carolina's ABC11, explaining the basis of his religion.
Although Clayton High School's dress policy can be adjusted upon request of a student who holds a "sincere religious belief," Ariana's request was denied because school officials deemed her piercing unnecessary, even after they researched her religion.
In defense of her decision to keep the piercing in, Ariana tells a reporter that the stud acts as a healing aide following childhood abuse.
"I was abused for years when I was younger, and I have really low self esteem, and it kind of helps me look at myself in a better way," she explains.
But frankly, giving a reason for her piercing should not even be a part of the equation. Whether or not the school understands her reasoning or sympathizes with her pain is completely irrelevant. The fact is, the piercing is a representation of her religion, and that alone should be the end of the discussion.
To be fair, there are some dress codes that make sense. When I was in high school, teachers would stop girls in the hall to assess whether their skirts reached the ends of their fingertips. If they fell short of the requirement, the girls were asked to change into their baggy gym uniform. Although a longer hem was not in style back then, that particular part of the dress code kept hormonal teens from being distracted by excess skin.
In Ariana's case, however, it's hard to believe anyone was offended by the microscopic stud in her nose. I can't think of a way it could cause any kind of distraction. If a student were to claim his religion required nipple exposure at all times, I could understand the school having an issue. But a nose piercing? Not a big deal at all. Actually, not even noticeable.
And, really, what is the difference between ear piercings and nose piercings, anyway? Why are studs in the ears acceptable, while a stud in the nose is considered inappropriate? They are mere inches away from each other. I understand that a line must be drawn somewhere, but in comparing the two piercing locations, I find no difference.
It is completely ridiculous that the school is so against a nose piercing that they are willing to compromise a student's education and religious freedom. What about real problems that are far bigger than a one centimeter nose stud? How's the drug and alcohol problem in your neck of the woods?
Stop being holier than thou, Clayton High School.
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.