In a story that broke across major news outlets today, a 14 year-old’s nose piercing has resulted in her being suspended from her school and ignited a debate over her constitutional right to express her religious beliefs.
Ariana Iacono, of Raleigh, North Carolina, says she is a member of the Church of Body Modification, and that her nose piercing is a result of her freedom to express herself and her chosen religion. School officials have deemed the nose ring as a violation of the district’s dress code and suspended Ariana last week from attending school. Both Ariana and her mother belong to the small church that encourages body piercing as an expression of religious devotion. Both Ariana, and her mother, Nikki, believe the suspension is in conflict with the First Amendment right of self-expression. This matter has received enough attention that Ariana has been contacted by the American Civil Liberties Union, who have also contacted school officials regarding the matter. Stay tuned!