Clayton High School in Raleigh, North Carolina, suspended 14-year-old Ariana Lacono due to her nose ring, which violated the Johnson County School Dress Code. Ariana told the press she is a member of a small religious group that believes in body modification. Her case touched off an argument between herself and the school system on her First Amendment rights to freedom of religion. Ariana is currently under her second five-day suspension. Officials warn that, should she return to school with the nose ring, she faces a 10-day suspension and a referral to another school.
Jennifer Kenton, student at Augusta State University in Georgia, was threatened with expulsion if she did not change her religious beliefs on the subject of homosexuals. Newser states that the school informed her of their decision — she must alter her central religious beliefs or be booted from her Masters Degree program. The school claims not to discriminate but rather to follow the ACA code of Ethics. Jennifer is required to attend a remediation program to fix her disagreement with homosexual behavior. Kenton is suing the school for interfering with her First Amendment rights.
In December 2008, seven students were suspended from a Quebec high school for refusing to attend a mandatory Ethics And Religious Culture course that ran counter to their religious beliefs. As stated on WND , the course taught that all religious beliefs and cults are equally true. This runs contrary to the students’ Catholic upbringings, and the school has received over a thousand requests from parents that their children be exempt from this course. The school argues that they are just introducing the students to religious culture. Widespread anger spread toward the school and the suspended students were applauded for standing up for their rights. Arguments hold that the state has no right to force religious teachings of any kind upon a child.
In 2007, Adrian Boykins was suspended from Lewisville High in Dallas, Texas, for refusing to pledge allegiance to the flag. He stated his reasons as it runs against his religion and he will only pledge allegiance to God. Boykins and his family are members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and firmly believes in putting no idol before God. The state ruled that he had the right to refuse reciting the pledge. A WWII Supreme Court ruling announced that children could not be forced to pledge to the flag. The story by WFFA received media coverage, and the family contacted the school on removing the suspension.
In all four above cases, a school interfered with the scholastic realm because of or for religion. Though the First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion, it is often freedom to practice your religion that has been modified to please a governing body. It should also be noted that the Christian Bible states to follow the rules of your government as you would the rules of your father. In essence, refusal to follow a rule is going against the Christian religion. However, religious beliefs are unique to the individual and must be practiced as believed.