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05.23.08

Teen recounts belly piercing

Posted in Piercing News at 11:47 am by admin

14-year-old says she blacked out during incident on school bus

MORGANTON – Having her belly button pierced has led to great emotional distress for a 14-year-old girl, she and her family say, and to legal action against a public school bus driver and the driver’s own teenage daughter.

The 14-year-old’s mother, Kandy Jordan, on May 15 pressed charges against Brenda Arnett, 52, and Sharlee Arnett, 19, both of 717 Amherst Road LT 1.

Jordan claims that Brenda Arnett, a bus driver at East Burke High School, allowed her daughter, Sharlee, to pierce Jordan’s daughter’s belly button on a school bus on May 7.

Jordan said her sister and niece told her about her daughter’s pierced belly button a few days later. Jordan said she immediately asked her daughter about it.

“I jerked it out of her belly button,” Jordan added.

She said thinking about the diseases her daughter could contract from an unsterilized needle makes her mentally distraught. (It’s not known whether the needle was unsterilized.)

An infection did set in and her daughter is on antibiotics, Jordan said.

Neither Brenda nor Sharlee Arnett was available for comment. The News Herald attempted to contact the two several times Wednesday and Thursday.

With her mother’s permission, Jordan’s daughter talked to The News Herald by telephone on Thursday

At the mother’s request, the girl’s name is being withheld.

The 14-year-old said the whole situation started when she talked with Sharlee Arnett about a piercing she, Sharlee, recently got.

The teen says Sharlee Arnett offered to pierce her belly button and, a week before the incident, told her to get a belly button ring.

The teen said Brenda Arnett stopped the school bus on a back road on the afternoon of May 7. She said Sharlee was already on the school bus, which was not unusual because Arnett’s daughter had been on the bus a number of times before.

The young teen said she lay down, told Sharlee Arnett that she was scared and did not want to go through with the piercing and, despite her refusal, that Sharlee Arnett proceeded with the piercing.

“When it was happening I don’t remember what was going through my head. I guess I blacked out because I don’t remember it,” the girl said. She described the pain as “excruciating.”

The teen said several students were on the bus and witnessed the piercing.

She also said some of those students have threatened to beat her up for getting Brenda Arnett in trouble.

School authorities have moved Jordan’s daughter to another bus and have suspended Brenda Arnett indefinitely pending their investigation.

Burke County Public Schools Superintendent David Burleson said Wednesday also is concerned about the possible presence on a school bus of a person who is not a student or employee of the school system. That violates school policy.

Sharlee Arnett is not a student or school employee.

Burleson said Brenda Arnett could be fired if it’s true her daughter was on the bus.

After Jordan pressed charges, sheriff’s deputies arrested Brenda and Sharlee Arnett, who were released after making written promises to appear in court on June 6.

Brenda Arnett is charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and misdemeanor child abuse.

Sharlee Arnett is charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and performing a tattoo or piercing on a minor.
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