Claire's Allegedly 'Forced' Staff to 'Restrain' Kids Getting Piercings

Claire's stores are under fire for allegedly forcing staff to "restrain" kids who were getting piercings against their will.

The allegations come from a former employee named Raylene Marks who published an "open letter" to the company on Facebook, who claimed that she was expected to pierce the ears of children who did not consent.

"I had a couple 'gray area' piercings, though; piercings where the children resisted heavily, were pressured and intimidated by the parents into settling down, and the children weren't happy with what had happened even after the earrings were in place and the standard lollipop had been dispensed," Marks said. "I didn't feel good about those, and I started to wonder at what point the piercer and the parent are actually violating a child's personal boundaries."

She went on to recall a specific situation where a young child was vehemently refusing but her mother pressured her anyway.

"This child was articulate, smart, and well aware of herself and her body. She expressed that she didn't want us touching her, that we were standing too close, that she was feeling uncomfortable," Marks explained. "She made it clear she no longer wanted to get her ears pierced. She begged, over and over again, for Mom to please, just take her home. That child's message was loud and clear to me: Do not touch my body, do not pierce my ears, I do not want to be here."

Following this instance, Marks spoke with her manager, and claims that she was directly told that Claire's employees are expected to follow through with a piercing when a parent consents even if the child being pierced does not.

"I brought up the worst scenario I could think of," she stated. "I wanted to know how far we were supposed to take this policy of piercing non-consenting children. 'So if a mother is physically restraining her daughter, holding her down and saying, 'DO IT,' while that little girl cries and asks me not to, do I do the piercing?' My manager did not hesitate to respond, 'Yes, you do the piercing.' "

"I gave my notice that day," Marks went onto reveal. "I had a choice between facing disciplinary actions (that would eventually lead to my termination) the next time I refused to pierce the ears of children who withdrew their consent, or leaving on my own terms. I chose the latter."

In a new update to her open letter, Marks says that a "Claire's representative reached out" and informed her that she "was acting in accordance with Policy 509."

"The representative claims that Policy 509 is in place to allow employees to refuse to pierce "distressed and resistant" children," Marks said, then adding that she was also told "that revisions will be made to the policy so it can't be misconstrued."

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Photo Credit: Claire's / Twitter