ModBlog News of the Week (Oct 8th, 2010)

Well the weekend is here, which means it time for the news of the week.  This week we’ll be seeing what is (hopefully) the last we’ll hear about a story that’s been covered a few times. In addition, Australian students are getting a new class added next year, some charity events, and what happens when you brag about a tattoo on the internet.

First up this week is the story of Ariana Iacono, the 14-year old student from North Carolina that was suspended for refusing to remove her nostril piercing on the grounds that her family are members of the Church of Body Modification.  A few days ago, a judge ruled that the school board couldn’t keep her suspended, and ordered them to allow her back to class.

A federal judge ordered a North Carolina school to admit a 14-year-old high school student suspended for wearing a nose piercing she says is part of her religion, and the teenager was headed to science class Friday afternoon.  ”We are thrilled that Ariana can return to her studies,” her mother, Nikki Iacono, said in a statement released by the American Civil Liberties Union. “Ariana was an honor roll student in middle school, and she is eager to get back to her classes and continue with her education as soon as possible.”

The best news about this is that she’s allowed to return to the school with all of her friends, as opposed to the school the board wanted to send her to, a school for children with behavioural problems.

The rest of the news is just ahead, click the read more button to continue on.

DIY backyard studios are popping up all over Australia by teens wanting to tattoo and pierce their friends.  While it is great that students want to modify themselves, as well as take ownership of the process by going the DIY route, it seems that a lot of the safe materials, and safe practices aren’t getting to them.  In response to this, some school boards are setting up workshops to educate students on what is involved in procedures and make them aware of the risks they are taking by doing things without proper knowledge.

The program will cover the dangers of self tattooing and piercing and also emerging forms of body art such as dermal implants, where pieces of metal are attached under the skin to allow devil horns or other decorations to stick out, and scarification, where the skin is cut in a certain way to allow scars to form in patterns.

Of course, some people have a problem with this.

However, Father Mick MacAndrew from Bombala, also the Priest on Campus at Lumen Christi Catholic College, at Pambula, believes it is up to the industry to self-regulate and the Council workshops, may just end up making the industry look desirable to impressionable teenagers.

I hate to break it to the good Father, but teens already think it is desirable, and DIY kits are readily available to anyone.  This is the same argument that comes up for abstinence only education.  If the students aren’t taught about safe sex, or just sex in general, then they’ll never want to have sex.  Right.

Of course, this is all because tattoos are a new thing.  It’s not like they’ve been around for thousands of years.  I’m sure that the recently discovered tattoos on a 1000-year-old Andean woman were just some marker she put on her body for show.  In all seriousness, the discovery of this body gives researches some clues into some of the ancient techniques that were used to create tattoos, as well as revealing that they may have been used as a form of acupuncture.

According to, 12 overlapping circles tattooed on the woman’s neck resemble “therapeutic” tattoo spots corresponding to acupuncture points used to relieve neck pain.  The team assumed local problems of the upper spine or headaches as possible reasons for treatment by the tattooing.  In contrast with the soot used in the decorative parts of the tattoos, partially pyrolyzed plant material, probably burned herbs, was used for the therapeutic neck tattoos.

In unrelated news, there are a couple of charity events coming up that you might be interested in participating in.

First, in Long Island, the Tattoo Lou’s chain of studios will be giving away free pink ribbon tattoos to support breast cancer awareness.

Also, in Worcester in the UK, body piercer Nicola Long has put together a calendar of local women to raise money for SANDS, a charity designed to help those affected by stillbirths and neonatal death.

Heading back to the US, the Boston Phoenix recently did a story on a book about the rise in popularity of the literary tattoo.

 Kristina Grinovich dedicated her right arm as a tribute to the words of Kafka

The book’s participants skew heavily toward literary professionals. “There’s a lot of people in the book that are affiliated with publishing or books in some way,” says Taylor. “A handful of librarians, a lot of people who work for publishing houses, magazine journalists.” There are a few famous writers, too, like Jonathan Lethem and Rick Moody. There are also a number of independent bookstore employees, whom Taylor tried to shoot in their natural habitat. “I wanted to make it a thing about bookstores and about the places where literature is consumed,” he says. Still, Taylor estimates that literary laypeople comprise the majority of his subjects, proving that literary tattoos are far from the exclusive province of MFAs and those who work in publishing.

Now obviously when it comes to a literary tattoo, especially of a specific quote, you want to make sure the spelling is correct.  Which is why it’s always good to double check the stencil one last time before starting the tattoo.  Of course, if it is on your back, it might be a little tricky to read backwards.  In the case of a woman in Chicago, when she looked in the mirror her White Sox logo looked perfect.

Elmwood Park resident Eugenia Bebis claims that on June 5 Mystic Tattoo Art & Body Piercing Corp. employee Micah St. John improperly tattooed her a backward Chicago White Sox logo on her thigh, according to a suit filed in Cook County Circuit Court.  The suit claims, among other things, Mystic Tattoo failed to notice the tattoo was being inked backward and didn’t adequately train and supervise employees.

Of course this could be a case of the artist screwing up, but you’d have to be pretty dumb not to realize you’re tattooing a logo of a local team backwards.

Speaking of dumb people, a little while ago a user on Reddit started a thread talking about how his girlfriend came home from school with a brand new tattoo from Dali’s Temptation of St. Anthony.  Well it turns out, he may have been lying.

But it wasn’t his girlfriend. According to one Reddit user who claims to be friends with her, the girl in the picture learned about the thread through her profile on the softcore porn site Suicide Girls. She posted a link to the thread to her Facebook, adding: “HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?”

So, that’s it for the real news, all there is left is the celebrity round-up, which is thankfully light this week.

First, one of the Jonas Brothers (the dreamy one) was seen showing off his newest tattoo, a wedding band with his wife’s name that he keeps hidden under his ring.

So while Mr. Jonas is adding to his collection, the stunning Kelly Osbourne is having some of hers removed.

And finally, one of the smartest political minds of this generation will be doing news reports on Good Morning America.  Elizabeth Hasselbeck‘s first report will be on the dangers of tattoos to teenagers in America.

That’s it for this week.  Remember, if you ever come across a story that you think should be included in the news of the week, just submit the link here.

40 thoughts on “ModBlog News of the Week (Oct 8th, 2010)

  1. It’s stylized ‘reddit’, no need for capitalization =]

    Also, shameless plug for

    As for the 14-year-old, how does breaking well-written school policy by faking a religious backing help anyone? Her and her parents should’ve known the school didn’t endorse or approve of visual body piercings at the school, and they decided to spite them for no good reason?

    Get a retainer, stop wasting everyone’s time.

    Rob, why did you decide to spin this post to make it sound like the school wanted to send her away purely because of the piercing problem?

    From the article:

    “Ariana Iacono has been suspended four times since fall classes started, missing 21 days so far. On Monday, the school system denied an appeal of her most recent suspension, and told her she’d have to attend South Campus Community School, an alternative facility for students with disciplinary and other problems. She still wouldn’t be allowed to wear the nose piercing in the other school.”

    Four suspensions since school started? (1-3 months ago?)

  2. I live in NC so i’ve been following this story for awhile now (its been a long drawn out thing). My thoughts are, If someone say…Hindu were to do something like this I think the Redneck bubba hicks of Johnston county NC would have shut their trap real fast to avoid a lawsuit, You can’t allow only certain religions to practice freely, and exclude ones you think are “fake” (as some school board leaders have come out and said they think is the case).

    She is an honor roll student and isnt a trouble maker and she is standing up for something she believes in, so kudos to her.

  3. @lauren

    Do you have any local articles saying she ‘isn’t a trouble maker’? The AP article clearly says she’s already been suspended four times this year.

  4. So, a collection of spiritual people who practice their beliefs by modifying their bodies is faking a religious backing? Well Tobias, that’s just a downright rude and ignorant assumption, especially coming from someone who evidently is interested in suspension. Body modification for spiritual purposes predates body modification for aesthetic purposes by a long shot, even if it is just a nostril stud, she still has the same right to express that just as any Catholic wearing a rosary.

  5. I still greatly believe on a harsh separation of church and state. I disapprove of school resources being used over a disruption caused by someone who feels entitled to cause it *just because*. If, at 14, she was getting suspended over a Catholic issue, the first thing out of the mouthes of anyone here would be that it was forced on by the parents, and that it was *their* fight.

    Body modification as a ritual? I understand. Body modification as an aesthetic? I understand, but they are two separate reasons. Let her have the jewelry in outside of school. At school, she can wear a retainer.

    They’re not telling her she can’t be modified, they’re telling her she can’t wear the jewelry in school.

  6. And even in a sense of religion, court rulings have said that it’s perfectly fine for someone to pray or express a religious belief in school (jewelry, necklaces, clothing, praying) as long as it **does not cause a disturbance**.

  7. Is it really that big of a deal though? I mean sure, if your religion actually expresses the wearing of a certain thing (ie- a burka) and you’re being told to take it off, then definitely your religious rights are being violated. However, with something as simple as a nose stud, it sounds to me that it would be much, much easier to just take it out while you’re at school and put it back just to keep everything nice and stress- and drama-free. It sounds a lot to me like it’s just some attention-starved people trying to get their 15 minutes via some ridiculous technicality.

    And @Samsara, if we’re going to respect all possible religions, where do you draw the line? I’m sure you’ve heard of Satanism, right? Well, what happens if we have a group of people who are devout Satanists and believe that as part of their ‘Sabbath,’ they has to cut up and eat the hearts of newborn babies? I mean, as per your argument, they should be allowed to because, dammit, that is a tenet of their religion and we have that whole freedom of religion thing…

    Silly, right?

  8. @David: Really now? You had to pick on Satanism? Hate to break it to you, but Satanism is actually a religion (founded in 1966 by Anton LaVey). A “real” one that has nothing to do with eating babies or human sacrifices. I’ve submitted a picture of my first tattoo to BME over a year ago that reads “in nomine Luciferi vivam”… Latin for “in the name of Lucifer, I shall live”… I’ve been a Satanist for many years. I’m not going to explain it all to you right now ’cause, frankly, I doubt you’d give a shit. My point, do some research before you start pullin’ shit otta your ass!

    Yeah, she could take the nose stud out and put a retainer in at school… but cartilage takes a long time to heal and the stress from taking jewelry out and replacing it with a retainer everyday (and again when she leaves) would add unneeded stress to a healing piercing. And the point you bring up about the burka kills your point before it’s made. If people have no problem dealing with a full head covering as an exception based on religion, what on earth is so bad about a stud less than three millimeters in diameter???

    If a nose stud causes “drama” I think theirs something wrong with the people at the school, not the person wearing the stud.

  9. wow… I really did just use the wrong kind of there their they’re… hmmm… replace last one with there’s… thanks

  10. Rob! It’s “Worcester” not “Worchester” UK! Pronounced Wooster. There’s a couple of good studios in the city too if people care to look :-)

  11. i went to a highly religious school where girls had to wear blazers and ties but i the reason i went was because it was the only school in the whole area that wasnt just a bunch of kids sitting around drinking and doing drugs. Of course at the time i had no piercings except for an 8mm silicone skin tone plug in my ear and even that was hard to get away with. I even remember getting into trouble for wearing a bow in my hair. i think schools are becoming far too interested in appearences rather than education.

  12. Tobias: Don’t you mix up wel-written with bad-written BS!!! Such fucking stupid bullshit laws neet to be opposed and faught against with all legal means.

  13. @Stormchaser, I can’t tell which part of my comment you’re referencing. Are you saying that you would like religion in a classroom to be allowed to cause disruption?

  14. the girl with the nose stud happened in the same county I live in. Its a farmers community, all blue collar in NC. its such a shame to see such a waste of tax dollars going to fight such stupid lawsuits. Im all for freedom of body modification, but wow, pick and choose your battles. sigh.

  15. Oh, sorry, Tobi, I did nor realize you’re a bit silly. So, slowly agains: It is comment number 3. The school policy is not well written, and violates the human right for freedom of expression. And how an religios symbol like a nose stud (small, non offensive) can cause “disruption” is a riddle for me. I can understand that iussue with a Burka (who is hiding behind the tissue?!), and I would understan if someone try to missionate.

    Real fact is, that there are rules written by hyper-conservative assholes woith an horizon ending at 1cm – at the block of the head. Ok, there may be quite some ways t lookalike which are indeed not acceptable anymore, but that conservative pierincgs… These roles are BS, and it’s worth fighting them.

  16. im getting quite sick of schools all over the world saying that body modifications are not allowed.
    my local secondary school (which i happily left in 2002 before this shit came in) has stopped all students from wearing earrings or nose studs on the grounds that they are not part of the uniform (please note that the teachers are still allowed these body mods as they dont wear a “unform”)
    these are also the same grounds that stop be from being hired into a job that would get me off the dole. my tattoos and piercings are not part of the shop uniform (neither is make up and false nails but apparently they’re just fine and encouraged!) its hypocritical BS that needs to be stopped.

    im 50/50 about the kelly osbourne thing….. one the one hand tattooed men and women can look just as glamourous as non tattooed men and women… on the other hand…. some of her tattoos made no sense so she probably will be better off without them…wonder if she will replace them with anything else?


    Seriously, I’ve been saying it for years and I’m STILL saying it. Getting her tattoos removed to “fit her new style”? What the shit is that?

    OT: Does anyone else remember her “musical career”?

  18. @ Tobias – “If, at 14, she was getting suspended over a Catholic issue, the first thing out of the mouthes of anyone here would be that it was forced on by the parents, and that it was *their* fight.”

    Please do not assume to know what would or would not come out of my mouth! This issue actually happened in the UK:
    there was a catholic girl being forced to remove her cross to go to school She fought it and I supported that too, I am not catholic.
    Also the point about killing babies…the thing that seems to escape you is that we’re talking about school policy not a us law, if it was against the law to wear a nostril ring then you might have a point as it is also against the law to kill babies, but since it’s not you just sound ignorant of US law, constitutional rights, and of what Satanism really is.

  19. i giggled a little when i saw that article on msn…i used to think about pulling that whole church of body modification thing when i was in HS, but they didnt have stupid rules like that then, because mods werent hugely trendy yet. glad she got to go back to school, thats a pretty ridiculous reason to keep a young person from an education.

  20. I personally think the “Church of Body Modification” is ridiculous, and if the girl is such a “good, honour student” she should shut the fuck up and follow the school rules or go to another school that will allow her to wear the piercing.
    Your school doesn’t allow it. You’re 14. Guess what. Your job probably won’t allow it, and they’ll fire you for some other reason before you can pull some bullshit lawsuit.
    I went to a high school where we were allowed piercings, but if we weren’t, and I went and got one anyways, and got suspended, I’m sure my parents would have told me to shut up and take it out.
    She’s 14 years old, she’s a child, and education is more important than a nose piercing right now. I’m sure its doing fantastic things for her grades and reputation suing the school, missing classes and all. How’s that going to look on a college application?
    It’s stupid for them to kick her out of school for it, but for her to go to the lengths she’s gone to, well, I think that’s pretty stupid too. There are always going to be stupid rules we have to follow, no matter what we do. That’s life. Deal with it. She’s in for a rude awakening when she enters the real world.
    *someone with real life experience*

  21. Should this even be such an issue? I had my nose pierced in high school and I was always being told to take it out- it wasn’t until I kicked up a fuss about it one day that I found out it was actually because the school wasn’t insured for me hurting myself due to it, so it was a health and safety move (same reason most schools have a big deal about hoop earrings, imagine catching one of those on something?). Soon as I found that out, the nose stud was gone at school.

    It’s pretty simple really, so I don’t get why there’s such a huge debate around it. They might just be thinking the same thing as my old school.

  22. @David : Satanists celebrate Sabbaths? I thought that “Religious Holidays” in Satanism really had to do with the individual, as opposed to a hierarchy-imposed set of days to celebrate. The individual as I-thiest, as their own personal God, gets to dictate what days are to be celebrated, as no single day will be universally valued and celebrated. A Satanist’s birthday is, first and foremost, the universally accepted day of celebration, a “religious holiday” if you will. But no Satanist is going to celebrate another Satanist’s birthday as their most holy of holy-days!

    As for eating babies… the Satanic Panic has been and gone. If you want to remain ignorant by refusing to do your own research, then that is your choice. But putting forth Christian propaganda is really unnecessary. A FBI report published toward the tail-end of the Satanic Panic concluded that reports of Satanic Ritual Abuse, ritual murder, etc. etc., were nothing but fabrications put forth by Evangelical Christians and other hysterical people. To me, calling Satanists “child killers” or “baby eaters” amounts to religious persecution or hate speech just as much as bigoted statements against the Abrahamic faiths are.


  23. im with Tobias on the parts that everyone has their reasons behind their modifications, granted religion or not aesthetics can help someone feel better about themselves, weither there is a spiritual background to it or not…

    now having said that. I do agree that the parents need to come to an understanding that IF she has missed that much schooling due to a piercing, then a comprimise needs to be made. No matter what end it comes from. Idealy I dont see an Honor Roll studen being the type to give a fuck about school, kids are either all for or have it all figured out.

    Schools seem to find anything out of the norm to be a distraction, hence why anything from 8th grade and under in most school systems are forced to wear uniforms. Sound Familiar to anyone else, Nazi Germany? Children arent distracted by what other people are wearing or have pierced, if anything thats usually a quick 5 minute convo. What really distracts them is other students, and other people around. If schools want to really prevent the kids from being distracted they should just isolate them rather than blaiming everything around them and trying to lock down every aspect of their life to dispencing generic citizens…… But then again, that goes for the entire USA.

    point being, both sides are fucking stupid and need to grow the fuck up. take back the 1st amendment if you dont want people to speak their minds

  24. Lol, can’t believe the amount of cretinism in the comments, what are these people doing on BME at the first place? Comparing “eating babies hearts” and freedom to self-realize and be creative about oneself through body modification is beyond serious brain damage. And why ffs should she have worn a retainer? As much as taking the piercing in and out will damage it, body modification is a fundamental human right and no one should be able to tell you what you can or can’t do to your body. The idiotic conservative arguments about how the school can be an authority on you and your life are pathetic. David, Tobias and such – people like you are a part of the problem.

  25. As someone who went to a private school with a ton of dress code rules…

    It’s school. It’s not about your right to self-expression or anything else. You’re there to learn, and do well. The administration should also enforce every rule they make, or get rid of them. That was my issue with my school; teacher’s favorites could break any rules. I’m not ok with that. If they have a dress code, they have a dress code. If you don’t like, go to a different school.

    She’s 14. She has the rest of her life to get piercings. Is four years going to kill her? Seriously?

    If there is actually a Church of Body Mod or whatever, fine. But, if she’s using it as an excuse, that’s not cool.

  26. Inza: She is 14, she is a child. When she’s 18, and an adult, she can do whatever the fuck she wants. At her age, in the US, she doesn’t even have simple medical consent. Fair or not, she has literally no control over her body, and if the school has that rule, she can either take out the piercing, or find another school.
    If she was in college and an adult, and they told her to take out the piercing (for reasons other than safety) then she could bitch and whine all she wanted. But she’s not. She, in my opinion, needs a kick in the ass, and to grow up.
    Life isn’t fair. It’s school. It’s required. So, find another school, or take the piercing out.

  27. We all sit here and bicker over what we figure is the right thing for some 14-year-old and her family to do in this situation like it makes a difference what we think.
    This is going through courts, examining it to see whether it’s within her rights to continue as she sees fit. So far, yeah. It seems like it is. I don’t know why anyone, any of *us* especially, would oppose their fight. This could form a precedent allowing our common passion to be defended by the Constitution. I’m all for that. Anything that helps our community to be taken a little more seriously can’t possibly hurt. I say good luck to the Iaconos.
    I was fortunate to be in a school that didn’t care about our various modifications, and I’m really glad I was. My modifications are part of my identity. They bring me closer to the image I have of myself in my mind. I’m sure some people will agree with me when I say that any trivial reason for me to take out my piercings or cover my tattoos is annoying at best.
    Nobody is being hurt here by this girl wearing a damn nose ring. The school board or whoever is just getting all worked up because someone is undermining their glorious set of rules. It’s time for an update.

  28. Being a child is the best time to have a piercing without facing “real life” repercussions. Having facial piercings may provide a hurdle to overcome when it comes to employment. However, she probably won’t get a job until she’s 16, or possibly older. This is the PERFECT time to enjoy facial piercings.
    And San–switching to another school? You generally have to petition to be enrolled in another school (wait list, and probable denial) when you haven’t crossed the school district boundaries. Her parents would be required to move, or send her to the school where they teach troublemakers. That is not a practical solution.

  29. kids should be able to do whatever they want at school. it’s a human right to do whatever you want.

  30. ps if she is really devoted to her spiritual practice, she should quit school so that she can freely pursue the spiritual ideal of having a nose ring.

  31. oppositronic: Hah!! :P

    The real, adult world is not idealistic and perfect where everyone is accepted for their modifications, big or small, so why should the high school, child/teen world be any different?

    How many parents of 14 year olds let them get facial piercings professionally done at studios? (Mine didn’t, so I waited, also: How many studios in NC actually let 14 year olds in them?!)

    There were a lot of stupid rules at my high school I hated and disagreed with, but I dealt with it, went to school, got good grades, graduated, and went on with life. (Currently a “heavily modified” engineering student attending college, working on my second degree and getting more certifications)

  32. I agree with those above saying she should have just waited. Don’t join a school then deliberately disregard the uniform policy you signed up to, fully aware of the consequences. I got my nose pierced when I had left school for exam leave, when I knew I no longer had to be in uniform. Sure, I wanted it pierced before then, but I would have been suspended too, and put my teachers in an awkward position, as they’d have been obliged to report me to the head of year, however good a student I was.

    If she so desperately needed her nose pierced, she could’ve taken the place at the other, less desirable school.

  33. Monoceros dont forget all the stupid bullshit that the big sports kids got away with just because they played on the sports teams. saw countless kids at my school get away with fighting, being caught on drugs/drunk and got nothing more than a slap on the hand all because the coaches and teachers wanted to see them play.

    as for the COBM, i looked into it years ago and it was nothing more than a title people tried to claim that had no real backing to it. sorta like some of the forums of IAM. Id like to see someone put being a “mancore” man on their resume to be a bouncer all because being part of that forum makes you more macho. its all bullshit to me and holds no real legal stance

  34. I have absolutely no problem with schools regulating students’ appearance, and a big problem with someone making bullshit claims of religion to try to circumvent rules. The COBM has a website. Their “About” page reads: ”

    The Church of Body Modification represents a collection of members practicing ancient and modern body modification rites. We believe these rites are essential to our spirituality. Practicing body modification and engaging in body manipulation rituals strengthen the bond between mind, body, and soul. By doing so, we ensure that we live as spiritually complete and healthy individuals.”

    That is not religion. Being “spiritual” is not religion. Calling your group a “church” does not make it a religion. Take this quote from “minister” Tiffany LeClaire on being “spiritually modified”:

    “Captive bead rings remind me that life is cyclic. Straight barbells remind me that all things have a beginning and an end. Natural stones may also be introduced for various purposes including strength, grounding, and healing.”

    That is essentially a bunch of vague New Age bullshit–and this is what this girl is claiming as her religion? What nonsense. The school had as much right to dismiss her claim as they would to deny a student who claimed their “religion” demanded they wear an eyepatch of healing crystals. And by the way, nostril piercing does not have religious significance in Hinduism.

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