By: Kaylee Bliaya
Stories aren’t always told on paper, sometimes they’re in the tattoos etched on a person’s skin. As a matter of fact, many teachers here at Samueli Academy have them, and the stories behind their tattoos have remained a mystery...at least until now.
Samueli Academy is all about expressing yourself, and following your passion, which applies to both students and staff members. Here, you’re allowed to wear the clothes you want that fits the dress code, teach the way you want, join classes and clubs that you want, and even show off your tattoos. Many teachers have tattoos, and some of them have offered to share the stories behind them.
The first teacher isn’t only an english and journalism teacher, but also a mother, can you guess who it is? Yes, that's right! It’s Mrs. Abuel who has one tattoo, and is planning to get two other ones later on. “My tattoo is of the scales of justice which to me represents balance and justice. Justice is really important to me, and balance is something I struggle with personally so it’s kind of like a reminder to try for it,” she said. The next tattoos that she’s planning to get are the birth flowers of everybody in her family, and what she says is her spirit animal, a whale.
Next to share their story is our school’s student coordinator and athletic director, Mr. Sheppard. He has seven different tattoos, three on his left arm, two on his right arm, one on his finger, and one on his back. The three on his left arm are of a sheep with a cape, an owl standing on a baseball, and a stain glass window. The words ‘be still’ are tattooed on his right arm, and he has a tattoo that wraps around his arm that says, ‘be joyful, pray, and give thanks.’ The last two tattoos are of a Jesus fish on his finger and a cross on his back, which was the first tattoo he ever got. He says that all his tattoos are representative of either his faith or his family. “The tattoo of the owl and the baseball is for my grandparents from my dad’s side who passed away,” he said. He’s planning to get more tattoos in the future related to his family, like his grandparents from his mom’s side, and when he has a family on his own. Some people get tattoos just for fun, and there are people, like Mr. Sheppard who get them for representations of his family and religion.
Of course tattoos weren’t always as accepted as they are today because back then, if you had tattoos, you were seen as either unprofessional or a criminal. “I think tattoos have become something that is more accepted. There’s a lot of people that have them, especially people that have it as a type of art, or based on art forms seem more accepted, but there are people out there that think a bit more conservatively that may be a little surprised,” said Mr. Sheppard. Even though most people aren’t as judgemental as they were before, there are still some people that may think that teachers shouldn’t have tattoos, which could also affect how people view that school. “I think it really depends on the person who is looking and what kinds of stereotypes they have about people who have tattoos. Possibly to an extent, what generation they're from, and what that generation's view on tattoos are,” said Mrs. Abuel.
There may be a time when people come across a job that requires a person to cover up their tattoos, and there have been times where people like teachers would protest against policies to be allowed to express themselves with their tattoos. “When it comes to piercings, tattoos, and all of that, I just don’t really understand why any of that should be limited,” said Mrs. Abuel.
Sometimes there might be cases where certain tattoos have to be covered while being a teacher. “I think it depends on what the tattoos are of, I would never want to have tattoos that would be offensive to somebody else, and I think they wouldn’t be appropriate for a school environment,” said Mr. Sheppard. This is true because teachers, and staff have to take into consideration whether or not the tattoos might offend the students, or other people working there. But there are some times where having tattoos might be okay. “Tattoos that have significant meaning, have some type of purpose behind them, or tell one’s story to have some type of identity might be okay,” said Mr. Sheppard. So the argument of whether or not teachers should cover up their tattoos depends on multiple factors.
Here at Samueli Academy, teachers have tattoos to remind themselves of something they struggle with, to represent their religion, and to represent their family. The connection between all their tattoos are the fact they’re about someone or something that’s important and meaningful in their life. Now you know some stories behind the tattoos of the teachers here at Samueli Academy, and their opinions about about tattoos.
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