Johnston County to allow facial piercings in schools

Staff writerSeptember 13, 2011 

— Johnston County students are now allowed to wear nose rings and facial jewelry – as long as their school principal doesn’t see the jewelry as a disruption or a health or safety hazard.

The Johnston County school board voted unanimously on Tuesday to change the school system’s dress-code policy to allow facial jewelry. The old policy banned jewelry on the nose, tongue, lips, cheeks and eyebrows.

The change comes three months after Johnston County Schools settled a lawsuit that made its way to federal court. Clayton High School student Ariana Iacono sued school leaders last year after she was repeatedly suspended for refusing to remove her small nose stud.

Iacono said she should be exempt from the rule because she belonged the Church of Body Modification, a little-known religious group that embraces body piercings and tattoos.

But Johnston Superintendent Ed Croom said the policy change did not come about as a result of the lawsuit.

“I think it’s important to note that this is separate and beyond the legal action last year with the Iacono case,” Croom said Tuesday. “That really has nothing to do with this.”

Croom said the board routinely reviews its policies and makes changes.

snagem@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4758

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