Student Claims Religious Exemption over Nose Piercing, Sues School for Suspension

By Tom Breen | October 6, 2010 | 11:49 AM EDT

Raleigh, N.C. (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union is suing on behalf of a 14-year-old North Carolina student suspended from high school over her nose piercing.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit in federal court in Raleigh on Wednesday. The lawsuit seeks a court order allowing Ariana Iacono to return to Clayton High School immediately.

Iacono and her mother belong to a small religious group called the Church of Body Modification. The group believes that piercings, tattoos and other adornments are a way of expressing religious faith.

Iacono has been suspended from the Johnston County school four times since classes began last month.

A call to school officials was not immediately returned Wednesday.