A 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 has been suspended since last week because her nose ring violates the Johnston County school system’s dress code.
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.