Re: Body piercing (health risks vs. self-expression)
Amick Robert (amick@SPOT.COLORADO.EDU)
Fri, 26 Sep 1997 17:28:28 -0600
I would agree with Jan's thoughts on the health hazards of body piercing.
Thus, we as Scouters have a duty to sensitively educate youth on the
risks, which perhaps even their parents may not be aware of.
Many youth have no concept of the health and safety issues that are
associated with "fads" such as this.
I also certainly agree with the aspect of safety, where participation in
certain activities while wearing jewelry might actually result in injury.
This is true even in the case of wearing ordinary class or other rings on
When I used to teach EMT classes one of our guest lecturers was a plastic
surgeon; he showed some pretty "scary" slides of victims who had caught
finger rings on objects while jumping up, at school or other venues and
seriously injured their fingers, some to the point of amputation. So,
caution and education about risks is very important.
In any case, armed with this knowledge, it is still an individual's right
to decide if they wish to engage in such practices. Another poster
suggested that uniformed groups such as police, fire, and other public
safety agencies as well as Scout units should have the right to set
"standards." Certainly paid employees of such agencies are subject to
such codes for obvious reasons. However, Scouting organizations, while
uniformed, are not in the same venue.
The key difference here is that employers have more of a right to
"enforce" dress codes because they are paying an employee to represent
them in an official capacity. Even employers have to be careful about
restrictions on personal appearance items, however.
Scouting, conversely, is a volunteer youth organization and I would
question the right of the organization to dictate dress codes or
policies/standards to the youth at least in the area of jewelry, hair
styles, etc. This goes into a "sticky wicket" legally as Blaine has
noted, especially if the consequences of non-compliance result in
a loss of opportunities that might otherwise be afforded to a member.
Are we not better off to stick to educating on the possible risks as Jan
has noted, but avoid the entanglements of dictating rules that interfere
with an individual's right to self-expression. We need to look beyond
outward appearances and be concerned about the development of the whole
person. A more positive approach is to set good examples through role
modeling, and try to encourage youth to follow those examples without
interfering with their right of self-expression.
Bob Amick, EMT-B, Explorer Advisor, High Adventure Explorer Post 72,
On Fri, 26 Sep 1997, Jan Mussler wrote:
> Anytime you pierce the skin with something, you open yourself up to
> infection. If you pierce a mucus membrane, the odds of infection are much
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City