RALEIGH – A federal judge says a Johnston County freshman can return to school wearing a nose ring at least until the courts can determine if repeated suspensions violate her constitutional rights.
Ariana Iacono claimed Johnston County Schools are violating her freedom of religion, by suspending her for wearing a nose ring to school.
“The core arguement of our case is parents have the right to decide their children's educational and religious upbringing and that's all the mom was trying to do,” said Jon Sasser, an ACLU attorney.
Iacono was suspended four times this school year, a total of 22 days, for wearing a small nose ring.
Johnston County Schools' dress code policy prohibits facial piercings and the school system denied Iacono's request for a religious exemption.
Iacono and her mother belong to the Church of Body Modification and say the school system is violating their freedom of religion.
Friday, a federal judge said Iacono can return to school with her nose ring, at least until the courts hear her case. Clayton High School students and parents think the piercing debate has gone too far.
“It's not causing a disturbance. So, I think they should allow it,” said Emily Pate, a Clayton High School junior.
“They've got the rules and if she can have one then this guy can have one and eventually someone's going to have their whole face,” said parent Shane Gentry. “I could see where their point is it could go crazy. But i think going to court is crazy too.”
School officials refused to comment on the case, saying it is a matter of student discipline. The case will be back in court November 3 for another hearing.