RALEIGH, N.C. – A soft-spoken 14-year-old's nose piercing has landed her a suspension from school and forced her into the middle of a fight over her First Amendment right to exercise her religion.
Ariana Iacono says she just wants to be a normal teenager at Clayton High School, about 15 miles southeast of Raleigh.
She has been suspended since last week because her nose ring violates
the Johnston County school system's dress code.
"I think it's kind of stupid for them to kick me out of school for a nose piercing," she said. "It's in the First Amendment for me to have freedom of religion."
Iacono and her mother, Nikki, belong to the Church of Body Modification, a small group unfamiliar to rural North Carolina,
but one with a clergy, a statement of beliefs and a formal process for
accepting new members.
It's enough to draw the interest of the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which has contacted school
officials with concerns that the rights of the Iaconos are being
violated by the suspension.
The Iaconos say the school system is ignoring its own dress code policy, which allows exemptions on religious grounds. The
effect, Nikki Iacono, 32, says, is that Johnston County school officials
are setting themselves up as judges of what constitutes a "real"
"We pretty much flat-out asked them, what guidelines are you following? What do you need to establish a sincere religious
belief?," she said. "We were told that if we were Hindu, or she were
Muslim, it would be different."
This is a story taken from yahoo headlines. They claim to be from the church of Church of Body Modification. Would love to hear some thoughts on this. Why do people always feel the need to create religions to do what they please? Why not just wear the piercing or modify your body without trying to make it religious. Freedom of expression should be the front runner not freedom of religion.