A group of Harrison County students showed up at the school board meeting Monday night, proudly displaying the rings on their eyebrows, noses, and lips. Superintendent Henry Arledge and some teachers say such facial jewelry don't belong in school.
Dawn Jenkins said "As a teacher, we have children who are taunted, like the ones that dress like that. It puts us in a bad spot because we have to protect them".
Superintendent Henry Arledge said "It's distracting to students, it's an unsafe environment to the students and staff of the school district, especially if a student or teacher gets cut breaking up a fight".
Charles Shipman disagreed. Shipman said "If students are fighting, it can be expected that there will be blood drawn and a piercing has nothing to do with it". Shipman's daughter, Jessica, and about a dozen other students have been disciplined this school year for having a facial piercing.
Parent Toni Skiados said "Students don't leave their first amendment rights at the gate if they go to public school, and they have a right to express themselves. I see no harm in having a facial piercing".
Superintendent Arledge said "We are in the business of providing children an education, not to take on society's problems, and taking on society's needs of how they want to dress."
Several school board members admitted deciding this matter won't be easy. Randy Williams said "I don't like to see us take personal freedoms away, I can guarantee you that. It's going to be hard for me to make a decision on this".
Board President Theodore Hardy said "We've got to make some tough decisions and I hope these students to take it in their hearts that they have to make tough decisions too".
The school board plans to vote on the facial piercing amendment next Tuesday. If the policy goes into effect, students who continue to wear the jewelry will be sent home un excused.