Johnston schools settle with student suspended for nose stud
Posted June 6, 2011
Clayton, N.C. — The Johnston County school system has decided to settle out of court with a student who was suspended over a nose piercing she says is part of her religion, the school system announced Monday.
Ariana Iacono, a ninth grade student at Clayton High School, was suspended at the beginning of this school year for violating the dress code. Iacono said the nose stud she wears is an essential part of her faith in the Church of Body Modification.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the school system on Iacono's behalf and a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order in October demanding that the school lift her suspension and allow her to wear her nose stud.
In a news release Monday, the school system said that while it strongly disagrees with the judge's decision, it has chosen to resolve the matter out of court "rather than pursue a lengthy process of hearings, depositions and likely appeals." The judge who issued the restraining order is unlikely to "change his view of the case as the litigation progresses," the release states.
Superintendent Ed Croom supported the decision to settle with Iacono.
"I am confident that the board has reached a resolution that is in the best interest of our students," Croom said in the release. "Engaging in a lengthy and costly lawsuit would have directed much needed funding away from our classrooms."
Under the resolution, Iacono will be allowed to wear the piercing only for as long as she remains a member of the Church of Body Modification. The school board has not repealed its dress code or its ban on facial piercings, the release states.