|Published:||Sep 22, 2010 11:02 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Sep 22, 2010 7:58 PM EDT|
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A teenager's dream may never become a reality, all because of some body art.
19-year-old Jessica Coffey is suspended from Riverdale High School over a tattoo.
The tattoo does have a curse word in it, which Jessica says she covered with band-aids, but that's not the problem.
Instead, school administrators claim the tattoo violates their code of conduct.
The tattoo consists of a phrase and the masks for comedy and tragedy.
Jessica says the tattoo is in honor of her twin sisters to represent their district personalities.
It's not the only ink she has for her family.
"I have my father and my mother's names tattooed on me," says Coffey. "I have the faces for my twin sisters. I gotta get one more for my brother, but I haven't yet. Family comes first."
Last week, the tattoo on her left arm, which she's had for two years, got her called into the office.
"I go in there and I get a referral saying I have to go to a hearing Monday and be sent to ALC (Alternative Learning Center) and get 10-days [home suspension] for a tattoo. And it's my first referral," says Jessica.
The school wouldn't comment, but we found the district's policy on tattoos.
It says, "gang related tattoos, or other tattoos, that may cause a substantial disruption to the educational environment as determined by th principal are prohibited."
Jessica's mom Lisa says she's not in any gangs.
"She's an A-B student, she's doing good," says Lisa. "She's trying to do the right thing."
Now mother and daughter are worried Jessica may never reach her goals of serving her country.
"The National Guard is her dream. She's trying to make something of her life," Lisa said.
Jessica is devastated. "My whole dream went down the drain. My whole dream."
The family is looking for an attorney to take this case to court.
In a similar case in Iowa in 1997, an appeals court sided with an inked-up student, citing the school's tattoo policy as being too vague.