For us tattoo enthusiasts, it really warms the heart to look at how the acceptance of the art has grown over the years.
It wasn’t too long ago that people with ink were really frowned upon in many workplaces.
But now, it seems like more and more employers are beginning to see the beauty in body art and are starting to loosen up their rules a bit.
There are still, however, some industries that aren’t too fond of tattooed personnel. Does the education sector belong to that list? Are teachers allowed to have tattoos these days?
The answer isn’t straightforward at all.
Can Teachers Have Tattoos?
Looking at the federal and state laws in the US, there are no explicit rules or regulations that prohibit teachers from getting inked and having a successful career.
This means that there’s no such thing as a universal teachers’ tattoo policy and the ultimate decision lies in the hands of the individual school districts.
Some schools might have strict policies against body art, while others might be more lenient.
So if you’re a teacher who’s thinking of getting inked, your best bet would be to check with your school’s HR department to see what the policies are.
Can Elementary School Teachers Have Tattoos?
While there’s no law that prohibits elementary school teachers from having tattoos, most schools tend to be pretty strict when it comes to body art.
This is because young students can be easily impressionable and many parents wouldn’t want their kids being taught by someone with visible tattoos.
So if you’re an elementary school teacher who’s thinking of getting a tattoo, it’s best to keep it hidden.
Can Preschool Teachers Have Tattoos?
Just like elementary school teachers, preschool teachers are also expected to keep their tattoos hidden while at work.
The lower the age of the students, the more impressionable they tend to be.
So it’s best to err on the side of caution and keep your ink to yourself while you’re teaching young kids.
Being a Teacher With Tattoos vs Discrimination Law
As sad as it sounds, tattooed teachers are not protected from discrimination.
According to the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it’s prohibited to decline someone an employment opportunity based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. Tattoos are not mentioned here and they’re not expected to be if any reformations to the act take place in the future.
This means that, unless your tattoo has been done for religious reasons, your employer can still choose not to hire you or fire you if they don’t approve of your body art.
There have been quite a few reported cases of teachers who were discriminated against or fired from their jobs because they had visible tattoos.
In one such case, a teacher in Florida was suspended without pay after she refused to cover up her arm tattoo while teaching.
The school claimed that the tattoo was “inappropriate” and “unprofessional”.
Tattooed Teachers in Other Countries
Depending on the culture, there can be a big difference in how teachers with tattoos are perceived.
In countries like Japan and South Korea, for instance, it’s quite rare to see teachers with ink. That’s because the two countries have very negative associations with tattoos to this day.
In Japan, tattoos have long been associated with Yakuza gangsters, while in South Korea they’ve been linked to prostitution and crime.
In countries like the Philippines, tattoos are still seen as taboo and most schools have strict policies against them.
Also, Muslim countries tend to be quite disapproving of tattoos as they’re seen as against the religion.
The way teachers with tattoos are perceived also differs from country to country in Europe.
In countries like Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, for instance, it’s quite common to see teachers with small, discreet tattoos.
So if you’re a tattooed teacher who’s thinking of working abroad, it’s best to do your research first to see what the cultural norms are.
Will Tattoos Affect My Career as a Teacher?
The previous section makes it pretty clear that teachers with tattoos can still face some serious challenges in their careers.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you should give up on your teaching dreams just because you have ink (or the other way around).
There are plenty of schools out there that are perfectly fine with their teachers having tattoos.
And as the general perception of tattoos continues to change for the better, it’s likely that more and more schools will adopt a more lenient stance on the matter.
So if you’re a tattooed teacher who’s facing discrimination at work, don’t lose hope just yet. The tide might be turning in your favor.
Do Teachers Need to Cover Tattoos?
This really depends on the school district that you work for.
Some schools might have a strict dress code that requires teachers to cover up their tattoos at all times while others are more lenient and only expects you to do so when you’re in front of students.
The best way to figure out what the policies are would be to check with your HR department or the school board.
How Can Teachers Cover Up Tattoos?
There are a few ways that teachers can cover up their tattoos if they need to.
So, how do you hide tattoos at school?
One popular method is to use band-aids. This is a quick and easy way to conceal small tattoos.
For larger tattoos, you can use concealing makeup or liquid bandages. These products can be found in most drugstores.
Another option is to wear clothing that covers the tattooed area. This might not be ideal in hot weather but it’s a good way to keep your ink hidden when necessary.
Tattoos That Teachers Should Avoid
Even if your school district has no problem with teachers having tattoos, there are still some designs that you should avoid.
Anything that’s considered to be offensive, violent, or sexually explicit is a big no-no. This includes swear words, racial slurs, and gang-related symbols.
It’s also best to avoid anything that’s politically charged or could be interpreted as being anti-establishment.
Remember, as a teacher, you’re expected to be a role model for your students. Getting inked with something that goes against the grain might not be the best idea.
Apart from the right tattoo type, what’s equally important is the placement.
There are certain areas on the body where tattoos are more visible than others.
For example, a tattoo on your forearm is more likely to be seen than one on your upper arm. And a tattoo on your ankle is more likely to peek out from under your pants than one on your thigh.
In sensitive professions such as the teaching profession, it’s best to pick areas that are easily coverable.
The Good & Bad Sides of Being a Tattooed Teacher
Just like anything else, being a tattooed teacher has its own set of pros and cons.
Some people might see it as an advantage because it makes you more relatable to students, especially those who come from a background where tattoos are more common.
It also shows that you’re open-minded and not someone who’s stuck in their ways.
On the other hand, there are also those who feel that having tattoos might make you look unprofessional and might reflect poorly on the school.
Some parents might even pull their kids out of your class because they don’t approve of your body art.
So it really varies from person to person.
In the end, it all comes down to whether or not you’re comfortable with your tattoos and if you’re okay with the possible consequences.
Why Are Tattoos Considered Unprofessional
This is largely due to the fact that tattoos have often been associated with gangs, violence, and other illegal activities.
In the past, most people who had tattoos were criminals or former convicts. So it’s not surprising that many people in the more conservative sectors (such as education) still see them in a negative light.
However, times are changing and more and more people are getting inked, regardless of their background.
This is slowly helping to change the perception of tattoos but it’s still going to take some time before they’re completely accepted by society.
In the meantime, it’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to get a tattoo, knowing that there’s a chance it might affect your career.
What Jobs Don’t Allow Tattoos?
Being a teacher with tattoos can be tricky but at least you stand a good chance.
There are some professions, however, where having any kind of body art is a big no-no.
Probably the strictest stance on tattoos can still be found in the aviation industry. Those hoping to become flight attendants or pilots in most cases should forget about it if they have ink in visible places.
Although its policy is constantly relaxing, the military is still also pretty strict when it comes to tattoos. There are certain regulations that vary from branch to branch but in general, you’re not going to be able to join the army if you have tattoos in the “risky” areas such as the neck, face, or hands.
Other professions that might not be too fond of your body art include banking, law, and government.
So if you’re looking for a job in one of these industries, it might be best to keep your ink under wraps.
Teachers & Tattoos: Final Word
So, to sum up, can teachers have tattoos, or should they be avoided?
The answer is that it really depends on the person and the type of job they’re hoping to land.
For some people, having tattoos might make them more relatable to students and help them connect with them on a different level.
Others might see it as unprofessional and think that it reflects poorly on the school.
So it’s really a personal decision that you’ll have to make based on your own comfort level and the type of job you’re hoping to get.
Do you have any experience being a tattooed teacher? Let us know in the comments below!