Girl treated ‘like some sort of monster’ over piercing

BITES HARD: Sherie and Jessica Baker are upset Jessica has been banned from class because of snake bite piercings in her bottom lip.
BITES HARD: Sherie and Jessica Baker are upset Jessica has been banned from class because of snake bite piercings in her bottom lip. Craig Warhurst

A BUNDABERG mother says her daughter is being discriminated against and treated like a "monster" because of snake bite piercings in her lower lip.

Jessica Baker is not allowed to attend classes at Bundaberg State High School because of the piercings and now has to do all her upcoming assessments in solitude until the studs are removed.

Bundaberg State High School's piercing policy says students are allowed to have up to three piercings in their ears but nowhere else.

The 14-year-old is upset by the move, saying she loves Bundaberg High and had never been in trouble before.

"It is a great school, all my friends are there, but I should be allowed freedom of expression," Jessica said.

"They said the piercings would be a distraction to others in the class.

"It's like I'm some sort of monster."

Mum Sherie Baker is now weighing up whether to send Jessica to Kepnock State High School, which, they say, allows students to have piercings.

Sherie said she was upset with Bundaberg High's decision and said other students with nose and eyebrow piercings were not being excluded.

"If that's not discrimination I don't know what is," Sherie said.

Sherie also asked for leniency because Jessica is a diabetic and removing the studs would risk infection.

She asked to remove them in eight weeks time and cover them for school.

"There was no room for compromise," Sherie said.

"Back in the 80s I was a Bundy High student and I had three piercings and a cuff in Year 10."

A spokesman for the Education Department said the school's dress code was clearly outlined in the school's prospectus, parent handbook, student diary and newsletter.

He said compliance with the dress code sent a "positive message" about the school to the community.

"Students who do not meet the standards outlined in the dress code are dealt with under the school's responsible behaviour plan," he said.

"Jessica cannot attend regular classes at the present time, and works in the student hub instead. There has been no discussion of exclusion from the school."

Topics:  dress code editors picks school uniforms

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