Today, a federal judge ordered the Johnston County school that suspended 14 year old Ariana Iacono to admit her back – ending a suspension that has been ongoing for almost a month. U.S. Court Judge Malcolm issued the order during a hearing held today regarding the case. The attorney on the case, Jon Sasser, is an esteemed attorney working on behalf of the A.C.L.U. representing Ariana said that his client is very excited and attended her Science class today. The attorney representing the Johnston County School district declined comment on the order.
According to Sasser, where the North Carolina school district crossed the line was when they continually dismissed the explanation of the girl’s nose piercing as a religious rite, despite repeated explanations by her family and a Raleigh minister. This case is pivotal to many people’s constitutional right to religious expression and will be watched closely by school districts across the country. At stake is a school or other institution’s authority to discriminate against various ‘non-traditional’ forms of religious expression that include; hair length or style, personal adornment or body piercing that are expressions of an individual’s religious beliefs.