Tattoos cause concern for one board member
By Tony Farkas
TRINITY — The Trinity ISD School Board approved an employee dress code, but not before the policy regarding tattoos was questioned as being discriminatory.
The new policy was being discussed at a special meeting on Aug. 9.
Superintendent John Kaufman the purpose of the code is for the staff, especially teachers, to project a professional image.
“That’s my whole objective of this policy,” he said. “I want everyone to dress professionally, to look professional.”
Board Member Ricky Hortman said that he had issues with the policy, because in this day and age, tattoos are mainstream.
“We’re going to discriminate against people who have tattoos? A person can’t be professional if they have tattoos?” Hortman asked. “I would hate to lose a … teacher because of a tattoo. We have lots of other issues than to worry about this.”
Hortman said times are changing, and other entities, such as police departments, are rolling with those changes.
Kaufman said that covered tattoos have been in the code for as long as he can remember, and the district hasn’t lost any teachers because of it.
“We’re just like any other organization; there is going to be rules to abide by,” he said. “Working at McDonald’s, they have standards too. I don’t think that showing tattoos looks professional. I’m not saying it has anything to do with the way a teacher does their job; we have a lot of teachers that have tattoos now. They understand they have to be covered.”
Other changes to the police include requiring coaches to be in professional dress while walking the halls, no shorts are allowed in the classroom. Also, there are to be no more than two piercings in each ear for both male and female staff, and no nose studs or rings.
The board voted 5-1 to approve the code, with Hortman voting against the measure. Board Member Maggie Trevino was absent.
In other business, the board:
- approved a bid for $65,600 to Blackmon Mooring for cleaning the ductwork and HVAC systems at Lansberry Elementary School;
- approved a bid of $95,000 to Waters Construction for driveway repairs at Lansberry;
- approved a pay-raise scale for the 2021-22 fiscal year, which includes a $500 step raise for teachers, a 50 cents per hour raise for hourly employees and a 3 percent raise for administrators;
- approved raising rates for substitute teachers from $65 to $80 per day for non-degreed teachers and from $75 to $90 per day for degreed teachers. Certified substitutes will receive $150 per day;
- discussed the minor changes in the budget proposal; and
- approved additions to the policy manual, mostly dealing with legal matters.