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Teachers with ink? Ability is all 'tatt' matters

PASSIONATE ABOUT HER WORK: Assistant teacher Sarah Crawford proudly displays her tattoos.
PASSIONATE ABOUT HER WORK: Assistant teacher Sarah Crawford proudly displays her tattoos. Nicola Brander

TATTOOED teachers working on the Sunshine Coast have defended their professionalism after the dismissal of a teacher in the UK because of her appearance.

Assistant teacher Charlotte Tumilty was offered the role at St John Vianney's Primary School in Hartlepool as part of her training, but within an hour of her first day she was told to go home because of her tattoos.

Since the Daily's sharing of her story, we have received plenty of feedback from our readers.

Sunshine Coast teacher aide Sarah Crawford said she had 11 tattoos, including visible ones on her arm, foot, ankles and legs, but had not had a problem finding work in the industry.

RELATED: OPINION: Tattooed or not teachers are there to teach

"When I was hired for placement and then relief work I was told that it didn't matter as it doesn't change the person I am or the quality of my work ability," she said.

"My supervisor told me that my tattoos are who I am. I have not had an issue with any of the teachers, admin staff, principals, students or parents questioning me over them.

"I am very passionate about my work and the students I work with - I don't think my tattoos being exposed alters that at all."

Charlotte Tumilty. Photo: The Daily Mail Online
Charlotte Tumilty. Photo: The Daily Mail Online The Daily Mail

Private school kindergarten teacher Lachlan McGovern said it was already hard enough getting work in the industry because he was male, and tattoos had only made it harder.

"If you're qualified to teach, then there is nothing that should stop you from teaching as long as you're professional in your conduct," he said.

RELATED: UK teacher told to leave on first day because of her tattoos

"It is pretty funny when the kids catch a glimpse of my ink and say, 'Did you draw on yourself? Your mummy's going to be mad'. Ain't that the truth!"

The communications manager for Catholic Education Brisbane, John Phelan, said the body had not had any issues with tattooed teachers.

"We expect our staff to be dressed and groomed in an appropriate way for professionals," he said.

"In general we would say that any tattoo that is offensive in terms of the image depicted or the wording is unacceptable, but we're not aware that there's ever been a problem with this."

Although he had no issue with tattoos, Mr Phelan said heavily tattooed or pierced teachers made it difficult to enforce dress standards.

"We do enforce dress standards of no piercing and tattoos, so it does send a mixed message to the kids. It is a role model thing," he said.

Queensland Teachers Union president Kevin Bates said he had not encountered an issue like Ms Tumilty's in Queensland State Schools.

A Queensland Education spokesman said there was no specific policy relating to tattoos in Queensland state schools.

"Queensland state schools decide on the appropriate workplace presentation for employees," he said.

The Department has a number of policies that guides schools and employees with regard to workplace presentation.

These include the Government's Code of Conduct for the Queensland Public Service, the Department's Standard of Practice and the Work Health and Safety Act.

He said as a general guide, the appearance and dress of Departmental employees should be clean, tidy and appropriate to their duties and the people with whom they are dealing. 

Topics:  editors picks tattoo tattooed women



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