Students & Parents Angry Over Facial Piercing Policy

Every morning, as Jessica Shipman gets ready for school at Harrison Central High, she cleans the nose ring she got just nine months ago. Jessica Shipman says "I was in Germany for a visit and for a birthday present, my parents let me pierce my nose".

But this week, Jessica found out she and other students with facial piercing won't be allowed to wear them to school anymore. Anyone caught wearing jewelry on their eyelids, lip or nose are pulled out of class and forced to sit in the office.

Jessica says "This is how I like to express myself, and I don't see any problems with it, so I chose to wear it. It was allowed last year, and I really didn't see a point in taking it out".

Jessica's parents support their daughter's choice. Her mom wears a nose ring herself and says removing the ring is not so easy, because a nose piercing takes about two years to heal.

Sabine Shipman says "It's not like taking off a bandana. This is part of her body, and it leaves a scar if she takes it out now".

Charles Shipman says "She's being discriminated against. When I found out they would make her sit in the office all day and depriving her of an education, a public education at that, I was infuriated".

Right now, there's no specific policy about facial piercing in the student handbook. However, the superintendent say he'll introduce a proposal at the next school board meeting, to ban all facial jewelry, except for on the earlobes. He says such a policy is necessary to protect students and his staff.

Superintendent Henry Arledge says "It's distracting to other students in the classroom. It's also a safety issue, with kids taunting other kids. They get in fights and getting hurt, and employees getting hurt when they try to break up the fights."

The Shipmans disagree. They plan to ask the school board not to support the new policy, so their daughter can continue to wear her nose ring to school. The school board will discuss the new jewelry policy on August 26th. The Shipmans say if the school board decides to implement the policy, they will ask Jessica to remove her nose ring.