Mark Johnson is an English teacher in Ogden, Utah, and he’s up against losing his job if he doesn’t adhere to a district guideline: cover up the tattoos.
In recent interviews, Johnson states that his tattoos aren’t offending anyone; they’re his kids’ names and wife’s initials and claims that while he obviously doesn’t want to lose his job, he doesn’t think that it’s right for the district to discriminate against him for a little body art.
The district isn’t just biased against tattoos — piercings, skirts of various lengths and many other wearable items are banned. However, a representative for the school district
Johnson has worked for the Ogden area school district for the past fifteen years and has had his arm tattoos even longer. Up until this year, the teacher claims that there has been no stir about the tattoos. However, a spokesperson for the school district states:
“So we decided that teaching is a career, teaching is a profession, and we want to set a professional standard so that our students will look at their teachers and say, ‘Yes, they are a professional and yes, I could be a teacher, and I would love to have education as my career for 30 years.’”
While I understand that businesses and school districts have policies and procedures in place specifically regarding issues of this sort, I think that this district in particular is backtracking — the man has been employed by the district for almost two decades and has had the tattoos even longer than he’s been employed at the school as a teacher. The man’s tattoos are on his arm and aren’t obscene, violent or distracting in any way, shape or form.
However, I guess policy is policy and if this man wants to continue working for a school district that’s enforcing their newest dress code, he’ll cover them up, right? Personally, I think it’s crap — we should be evolving from the aghast reactions of pierced noses and tattooed eyebrows; they’re freaking everywhere. I don’t think that a tattooed professional is any less professional than the professional that people in certain circles might consider a “prude” of sorts, am I right?
Tattoos don’t express a mentality of immaturity or even destruction — they’re a way of saying ‘Look at me, I’m expressing myself.’ Anything beyond understanding that very basic fact is something that people really need to get over.