Nose ring flap blown way out of proportion

Sound Off is a public forum. Today, Port Orchard resident Marty Erath responds to a recent article in the Independent about the controversy created at Cedar Heights Junior High over his daughter’s nose ring, and a pair of recent letters to the editor discussing the issue.

The week prior to the Independent’s front-page article (“Nose ring policy challenged, March 15) was going to print, Cedar Heights Junior High School began to allow our daughter to participate in Physical Education classes.

Maria covers her small nose piercing with a Band-Aid and moves on.

That’s it.

However, in response to the two letters to the editor in the April 2 Independent (by Joseph Gentile and Andrew C), first off, Mr. Gentile, I’m one of the overly indulgent parents of the narcissistic teenager you referred to.

I assure you our daughter is anything but a narcissist. She’s thoughtful, respectful and a little shy, but a terrific student.

My wife and I have spent hundreds of volunteer hours in the classroom, helping with after-school activities, PTA events, etc. We strive to instill confidence and respect in both of our children.

You might call this over-indulgent, but we call it being involved parents.

Mr. Gentile, since both you and Andrew C. referenced the rule and school policy, lets address it.

What is the policy designed to prevent or what outcome is it trying to achieve (except keeping some kids from participating in PE who may look different)?

The policy is not a South Kitsap District policy but actually hidden in the Cedar Heights Junior High School Student Handbook. While being a no-jewelry policy, it expressly allows ear studs.

How is a single nose-stud more dangerous than one, two or more ear studs? The nose stud you see in the photo is smaller than most ear studs, measuring just two millimeters across with a flexible wire inside her nostril.

Wheres the danger? The single biggest risk we can find in our research is the risk of infection from removing and replacing the jewelry in a public restroom.

The school has not provided us with any information about the potential health hazards. We prepared and offered to sign a waiver of liability to hold Cedar Heights and the SKSD harmless in case of an injury to our daughter, but they declined.

It’s really all about fairness. Cedar Heights needs to provide equal opportunity for all students to an education.

Since there aren’t any obvious health and safety issues, the only real difference we can see is in appearance and the societal acceptance of earrings.

However, society is changing and more and more school-aged children have piercings of various types. We’ve been assured though that discrimination is not a factor here, it is purely health and safety.


For your information, Mr. Gentile, not every other teenager in the school is following the jewelry policy. Some with nose studs are participating, while others aren’t.

In fact, Maria participated during seventh-grade PE and it wasn’t an issue then.

Although Maria is now participating in PE, as far as we know, the policy has remained unchanged.

We want a policy that is fair and consistently applied to everyone. If Cedar Heights and the South Kitsap School District really want to remove all danger from students wearing jewelry, they would ban jewelry during all school activities.

My other daughter, who’s in the fifth grade, sometimes wears jewelry during recess and PE. Why does the policy only apply to PE in junior high school? Even there, it’s not applied consistently.

We have been working with Principal Andrew Caine and Assistant Superintendent David LaRose on this issue. We look forward to continuing this dialogue and working towards a consistent and fair policy for everyone.

We have heard rumors that some students still are not participating in PE and failing. We hope this is not the case, since a simple Band-Aid or piece of tape on the piercing removes any chance of injury.

This whole thing can just be solved with a Band-Aid, let’s just cover them up and move on.