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Pure Motivation » General Discussion » Other Religions/ الديانات الأخرى » Teen suspended from school over ‘religious’ nose ring

Teen suspended from school over ‘religious’ nose ring

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dangata

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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 constitutional 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 (constitution's) 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" religion.

"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."

More in Parenting: School suspends teen for 'red eyes'

On Tuesday, after her first suspension ended, Ariana went back to school with her mother — and her nose ring. She was suspended again, this time for five days. If she comes back to school on Sept. 21 with the nose stud, she'll face a 10-day suspension or referral to "alternative schooling," Nikki Iacono said.

A Johnston County schools spokeswoman declined to comment on the situation, saying it's against the law to publicly discuss a particular student's disciplinary matters.

Richard Ivey, the Iaconos' Raleigh-based minister in the church, believes it's a case of officials dismissing something unfamiliar.

"They're basically saying, because they don't agree and because they choose not to respect our beliefs, that it can't be a sincerely held religious belief," he said.

Ivey describes the church as a non-theistic faith that draws people who see tattoos, piercings and other physical alterations as ways of experiencing the divine.
"We don't worship the god of body modification or anything like that," he said. "Our spirituality comes from what we choose to do ourselves. Through body modification, we can change how we feel about ourselves and how we feel about the world."

Samira

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wow lol they have a religion for everything now

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