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Should you pierce a child’s ears if they don’t want you to? According to this open letter written by a former Claire’s employee Raylene Marks, if you don’t pierce a child’s ears when a parent asks you to, you can lose your job.
When my daughter was four, she really wanted to get her ears pierced. I knew it was going to hurt (I got mine done when I was four) but she really wanted it, and I took her to the mall to have them done.
While she was sitting in the chair, a man walked in from outside and pointed straight at me. “Shame on you for forcing that little girl to have her ears pierced. How dare you!”
I thought he was kidding, but he just kept staring, until finally my four year old spoke up for me, “I want this. Shhhh.”
Without an apology, he turned on his heel and walked right out of the store.
It was the first time I had ever seen her take control of what she wanted done to her body, and I was really really proud. She got her ears pierced that day, and was so happy that she did.
A seven year girl came into Claire’s where Marks was working to get her ears pierced. Marks and another employee were going to do a “double” for her. (That’s where they pierce both ears at the same time, to prevent the kid from getting nervous after the first one and only getting one ear done.)
The little girl changed her mind after she walked into the store and did NOT want to get her ears pierced, and the mother begged and begged her to.
Marks refused to be a part of the piercing. The mom ended up respecting her child’s wishes in the long run and took her home.
The next day, her manager asked Marks about the incident. She told her manager that the child had begged to be left alone, and she was not going to pierce her ears. Her manager said that if the mom had wanted her daughter’s ears pierced, she would have had to do it.
The only policy Claire’s has in place about piercings is that they “reserve the right to refuse an ear piercing if a successful one cannot be done.”
When Marks asked her managers about the policy they said that not only should employees pierce a child’s ears if the mother is physically holding them down, but that they HAVE TO.
Marks also said that she checked with district sales managers, and they confirm that this policy is correct: Children can be held down and pierced. Children do not have a voice in the piercing process. The associate doing the piercing has no right to refuse.
Marks chose not to be a part of a company that doesn’t respect a child’s right to say no, and turned in her resignation that day. But she didn’t just stop there. She wants a full change in policy. She wants to give the power back to the children.
In other words, she wants the children to have the right to say no if they don’t want a piercing done to their body. Claire’s store managers disagree, and say that if a parents wants their child to be pierced, it’s the employee’s job to do it.
I am with Marks 100 percent. Children should have a right to decide if they get their ears pierced or not. How can we teach our children about consent if they don’t?