Facial piercings now part of school uniform

PIERCED UP: Taranaki secondary school student MJ Hodson, 15, with her pierced tongue, septum and double earrings including one stretcher, wants all secondary schools to allow facial piercings.
PIERCED UP: Taranaki secondary school student MJ Hodson, 15, with her pierced tongue, septum and double earrings including one stretcher, wants all secondary schools to allow facial piercings.

A New Plymouth high school is breaking new ground by allowing facial piercings.

An announcement at a school assembly at New Plymouth Girls' High School yesterday gave students the green light to add one lip and one nose piercing to their school uniform.

The old rule was one stud earring in each ear, a rule still enforced by four other Taranaki secondary schools.

Of the eight schools contacted by the Taranaki Daily News yesterday, Inglewood High School, Opunake High School, Sacred Heart Girls College and Spotswood College all responded and confirmed they don't allow facial piercings.

The acting principal at New Plymouth Girls' High School, Stella Bond, said uniform rules have to change with the practicalities of enforcing them.

"If we're spending too much time on something, we need to decide if it's worth it. We think there's much more significant things to be dealing with."

"We're talking a stud the size of an old metal pin and when you're talking that level of invisibility and trying to draw a line it's a case of thinking maybe it's time for a shift."

She said she realises not everyone is going to be happy.

Notices detailing the uniform change were sent to parents yesterday, and she said with a school roll of 1260 students she would expect some feedback.

"It's not unlikely to get a few complaints, but if it's more than a few I would be surprised," she said.

The rule change has been discussed at school for years and the final decision was made by the school leadership group consisting of the principal, Jenny Ellis, and four deputy principals including Mrs Bond.

The decision was signed off by the school board of trustees chairperson, but staff were not consulted.

"In terms of the follow-up with students that aren't meeting the uniform rules it's largely the senior leadership group that deals with it, so it's us that's the most affected," Mrs Bond said.

She said uniform changes are constantly looked at, but it has been four years since a significant change was made.

"The school shirts were the last big change when we said the only ones to be worn were shirts with the school logo."

One Taranaki secondary school student says she thinks all schools should allow facial piercings.

"I think it's great Girls' High is allowing it because it means you can express your individuality," 15-year-old MJ Hodson said.

"I got told to take out my lip piercings by school and that was $60 worth of wasted money."

She said piercings are a fashion statement and personal to her.

"They are a fashion thing for teenagers and I doubt I'll still have them when I'm 30," she said.

"I think they look good on me and I like them."

Miss Hodson says she accepts schools have to draw a line and realises an unlimited amount of facial piercings will never be allowed.

"No-one has just one stud in each ear anymore, that's just not what's happening. I think they should allow up to three piercings on the face."

Taranaki Daily News