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Nose stud yields fourth suspension

CLAYTON, N.C., Sept. 22 (UPI) -- A North Carolina high school student was suspended for the fourth time for refusing to cover up a nose piercing she said is part of her religion, lawyers said.

Katy Parker, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, which has taken on the case, said Clayton High School freshman Ariana Iacono, 14, was suspended Tuesday for the fourth time for refusing a compromise offered by Johnston County school officials, the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer reported Wednesday.

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Officials said Iacono could keep the piercing, which they said violates the district dress code, if she covered it with a bandage for the remainder of her time at the high school.

Parker said Iacono is a member of the Church of Body Modification, which promotes tattoos and piercings as part of a path to spiritual enlightenment.

"We don't think she has an obligation to do it," Parker said of the offered compromise. "We think it's unreasonable to ask a student to wear a Band-Aid on her face for the next four years."

Parker said the ACLU is aiming to settle the matter out of court. School officials declined to comment.

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