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Curious what people think of this? Teacher losing a job over tattoos


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1 hour ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

Shouldn't someone teaching kindergarten be able to grasp how troubling dramatically altered appearances are to young children? The burden is not on the young children to deal with the disturbing feelings, the burden is on the adults to minimize any unnecessary disturbing situations.  If your appearance is so potentially disturbing to young children that they need to get used to you to get over it, you really don't belong around a group of young children.   THIS.  Also, from a evolutionary/hard-wiring point of view, humans are designed to be alarmed when we can't identify where someone is looking, and most cultures have rules about eye contact meaning, so blacking the whites of your eyes isn't a neutral issue like a crazy hair color.  Dr. Jordan Peterson has discussed this. (No, his political points of view aren't relevant to that issue.)

And this isn't a theoretical discussion for me and my loved ones.  My husband opted to pay for cosmetic surgery because he had a lazy eye that was slightly misaligned due to a medical condition in childhood, but it got dramatically worse a few years after we got married, so he decided to correct it because it made people very uncomfortable not knowing how to make eye contact with or look at him.  This included professional engineers and adult peers, not just young children.  It was correctable and he had access to corrective measures, so he did it for other people's comfort.  And no, he wasn't very self-conscious about it either.  He had no emotional discomfort at all with someone staring or kids making comments or asking questions. He was matter-of-fact to explain the issue.  It was their obvious discomfort with the possibility that he might be hurt or offended by their confusion about eye contact and mommies of littles being upset with their kids just asking a question for the sake of information about it, which really changed the social dynamic. He was constantly reassuring people or making comments to put them at ease. It was easier just easier to have corrective alignment surgery. 

Our pastor at the time appreciated all the effort my husband had to put in making others comfortable with eye contact, looking at his eyes, and talking about eyes, so when pastor came to visit him after surgery he quoted him a bunch of verses that include the word eye.  It was very funny and sweet. 

It doesn't even take much.  I've had ASD children freak out because I got a haircut.

 

 I also have strabismus - I did surgery in hopes my vision would improve.  I can attest there are communication issues when people think you're not looking at them.   

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2 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

It doesn't even take much.  I've had ASD children freak out because I got a haircut.

 

 I also have strabismus - I did surgery in hopes my vision would improve.  I can attest there are communication issues when people think you're not looking at them.   

And as the girlfriend or the wife every.single. person in my close social network took me aside and asked, "Which eye am I supposed to look at?  I can't figure it out."  Then I had to explain that he has monocular vision, not binocular vision; one eye is for close and the other is for farther away, so it changes depending on how far away someone is.  Splitting the difference and looking at the top of his nose was the easiest thing to do if they're worried about it, but they really don't have to worry about it, he isn't bothered by it at all.

And people would be chatting about something and come to the word eye and pause to avoid saying eye,  then get visibly flustered or awkwardly word something to avoid the word eye, which is never subtly done. Some just tended to avoid looking at him entirely pretending to be distracted with paperwork or cut short some conversations with him if they felt awkward for fear of giving offense, which can cause just as many or more problems in the relationship dynamic.

As you said,  there were the awkward situations where he was making eye contact with someone who didn't realize it and he spoke directly to them without using their name (because that's how most people do that) and they didn't realize and felt embarrassed when he clarified he meant them.  The flip side is people thinking he is making eye contact with them when he isn't, but he couldn't help that his eye was pointing in their direction. When they realized their misunderstanding, they obviously felt awkward, afraid they're dredging up some long, deep, childhood wound. In childhood it was just barely noticeable as a very slight misalignment.

These are all examples of mature adults struggling emotionally with relationship dynamics based on moderately unusual appearances. We can't expect littles to handle the most extreme appearances which were entirely voluntary.

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I would feel differently if, say, he had been teaching kindergarten for 12 years and was in a horrible fire that caused scarring or something.  I think in a situation where someone has a potentially troubling appearance from a birth defect or an accident, that the onus is on society to teach children tolerance for that.  

I feel entirely differently about voluntary facial tattoos and colored eyes.  @dmmetler is absolutely right about the high likelihood of children experimenting with home body art, and I would be very troubled to find children attempting to color their eyes.  

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3 hours ago, Monica_in_Switzerland said:

Exposing my very sensitive children to this guy, in my opinion, would be akin to mental/emotional child abuse.  Frankly, if I saw him coming, I would cover the eyes of my two most sensitive if I could not avoid him, because they would be literally terrified- and it would stay with them for weeks or months.  

I would have had to do this as well, when my DD was younger. 

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4 hours ago, mom2samlibby said:

Your example of the Muslim woman would have been known when she interviewed.  This man did not have tattoos when he was hired, nor the blackened eyeballs.  The blackened eyeballs were new within the last year.  He intentionally changed his appearance and now it does not go well with his job.  

Not necessarily for the Muslim woman. People convert or become more religious and decide to cover when they didn’t before.

I do think there are distinctions there and that it was probably appropriate to shift this guy’s job (though we don’t know the whole story). But I also appreciate the foundation of the ethical issues Tanaqui is raising.

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I think there's a difference between offending adults, and scaring little kids.  This guy is making intentional choices that result in an appearance that has scared at least one kid that we know of, and I wouldn't be surprised if he scared others that we just aren't hearing about.  

 

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So this story found its way to my FB feed and my 9 year old was beside me.  I asked if she would like him for a teacher.  Her response- completely unprompted- NO!  He looks scary!  What is wrong with his eyes?  I explained that he wanted the tattooed.  WHY????   Well, he just wanted to.  At this point my 12 year olds came over to see what the big deal was.  They weren't scared of him, but they both thought he just looked creepy and would not want him as a teacher.   One of them said -unprompted- that he questioned that guys mental stability if he purposefully wanted to look like that.

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6 hours ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

And as the girlfriend or the wife every.single. person in my close social network took me aside and asked, "Which eye am I supposed to look at?  I can't figure it out."  Then I had to explain that he has monocular vision, not binocular vision; one eye is for close and the other is for farther away, so it changes depending on how far away someone is.  Splitting the difference and looking at the top of his nose was the easiest thing to do if they're worried about it, but they really don't have to worry about it, he isn't bothered by it at all.
 

Mine wasn't even as misaligned as some I've seen, but still enough to cause vision issues.  And people thinking I wasn't looking at them.  I had my first surgery for it at 18.  Apparently the ophthal I was taken too as a small child "didn't believe in surgery".   subsequent drs managed to save my vision in that eye. (for those who don't know - if you don't use an eye, your brain will shut down the input from it and it will go blind.)  I'm just glad my sil took niece in for it when she was 18 mos while her vision was still developing.

 

 Now - I'm developing a cataract in that eye and it has double vision that is getting worse.  yeah - double vision in ONE eye. (the cornea is distorted)  I need to go in, as I've been closing it more and more so I can read, etc.

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Perhaps it’s having autistic sons who couldn’t handle Horton Hears a Who the movie at 4 or maybe it’s taking care of family members who daily navigate racism and ableism for things that are not optional but something about the narrative this man is pushing seems to be callous at best and quite possibly coercive.  I think a teacher’s reaction to the fear of a small child shouldn’t be quite so self centered.

There are certain things we can’t do at our jobs.  Let’s not pretend this is about ink or diversity.  Not *blacking out your eyes* is more in the same vein as “people need to wear clothing and arrive at work  clean” than any actual claim for tolerance and diversity.

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I can't believe I'm the person saying this, but ....

I kind of disagree with the logic here about whether it matters that this was a choice ... when the main deciding point for most above seems to be how scary he looks to kids.

There are many things that can make a person look scary to kids that are not by choice.  I consider it a blessing when my kids have the opportunity to deal with "scary looking" people, because they need to learn from experience that looks do not tell us anything about how the person is inside.  If they learn it first from someone with black eyeballs, then maybe when they encounter a person who is severely deformed from a birth defect or accident, they won't have the kind of reaction that most of us would have as kids.

IMO a weird-looking-by-choice teacher is an opportunity to model to my kids how to react to different-looking people in general.

And FTR I really dislike tattoos in general.  And I still think there is probably more to the story behind his reassignment.

The one thing that I think would concern me about the black eyes would be - can you tell which way he is looking?  If you can't tell whether or not a person is looking at you, that could be unsettling.  However, again, kids need to learn how to deal with unsettling appearances, for the sake of those who didn't have a choice about it.

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11 hours ago, LucyStoner said:

Perhaps it’s having autistic sons who couldn’t handle Horton Hears a Who the movie at 4 or maybe it’s taking care of family members who daily navigate racism and ableism for things that are not optional but something about the narrative this man is pushing seems to be callous at best and quite possibly coercive.  I think a teacher’s reaction to the fear of a small child shouldn’t be quite so self centered.

There are certain things we can’t do at our jobs.  Let’s not pretend this is about ink or diversity.  Not *blacking out your eyes* is more in the same vein as “people need to wear clothing and arrive at work  clean” than any actual claim for tolerance and diversity.

I'm so glad to hear someone else had issues.  My retired Kindie teacher friend, would use Dr. Zeuss in the classroom.  Dudeling freaked out over the books - he hated them.  

eta: i had a similar experience with a clown.  Dudeling was really scared, and the guy (younger) was quite insistent he needed to be pushed to get over it.  It was someone else's BD party, and I really didn't care what the "clown" thought.

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12 hours ago, LucyStoner said:

There are certain things we can’t do at our jobs.  Let’s not pretend this is about ink or diversity.  Not *blacking out your eyes* is more in the same vein as “people need to wear clothing and arrive at work  clean” than any actual claim for tolerance and diversity.

This a million times!

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Also, DD did a virtual camp for high school/college mascots this summer. One of their sessions was specifically focused on how to manage the situation when kids are scared of the character-that it is perfectly NORMAL for preschool age kids to be scared of costumed characters because at that stage of development, you really ARE Pouncer the tiger (or whatever), that some kids will have that suspension of disbelief much longer and may still be scared even when they are quite a bit older, and how you should step back and let the child decide when and if they are going to approach (and this is one of several reasons why if you are a costumed character, you always have someone else with you who CAN talk directly to the parents and suggest alternatives, like maybe taking a picture with a photo on the wall).  This guy is fully as uncanny valley as a person dressed up as a giant tiger in a basketball jersey-and you're asking kids to accept that person as their teacher.  

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It sounds like he was switched from teaching at the maternelle, which is for kids from 2 or 3 up through 5 turning 6, to the elementary school where the six year olds would be the youngest kids he encountered. Frankly, I wouldn't want someone who seemed to be so unstable to be close to small children. There are too many decisions to be made about physical and emotional well being in those early years, even before kids have nightmares. At the elementary level, the problem would be when I told my kids that I believed their teacher to have poor judgement, at least in some areas. I don't believe for an instant that the decision was made based on one complaint, but the complaint may have been the catalyst for change.

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12 hours ago, SKL said:

I can't believe I'm the person saying this, but ....

I kind of disagree with the logic here about whether it matters that this was a choice ... when the main deciding point for most above seems to be how scary he looks to kids.

There are many things that can make a person look scary to kids that are not by choice.  I consider it a blessing when my kids have the opportunity to deal with "scary looking" people, because they need to learn from experience that looks do not tell us anything about how the person is inside.  If they learn it first from someone with black eyeballs, then maybe when they encounter a person who is severely deformed from a birth defect or accident, they won't have the kind of reaction that most of us would have as kids.

IMO a weird-looking-by-choice teacher is an opportunity to model to my kids how to react to different-looking people in general.

And FTR I really dislike tattoos in general.  And I still think there is probably more to the story behind his reassignment.

The one thing that I think would concern me about the black eyes would be - can you tell which way he is looking?  If you can't tell whether or not a person is looking at you, that could be unsettling.  However, again, kids need to learn how to deal with unsettling appearances, for the sake of those who didn't have a choice about it.

 

I saw a video of him. I would be concerned about kids copy-catting with home color in eyes and harming themselves, but it was easy to tell where he was looking because his irises are brown. 

 

 

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He should be terminated, or at least put in to a job that is not public facing. But seriously....why does society have an everything goes attitude? Doctors should not have been willing to tattoo his eyes black. This is just gross and there is something wrong with him mentally.

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On 9/29/2020 at 7:44 PM, Tanaqui said:

What if it wasn't tattoos? What if he had a "disturbing" appearance because he got into a car accident and had to have reconstructive surgery? What if he was born with a disfiguring disability that didn't affect his ability to teach but did affect his physical appearance?

What if it wasn't a teacher? What if it was a classmate?

If your argument is "he shouldn't teach because his appearance is scary", then at what point are you saying that some people should not be allowed to be in the classroom at all? Is it only some scary appearances that are bad and others are okay?

That would be different.  And it would reach kids to not judge by appearances.  But every job has requirements of dress and behaviour .  I would not be happy for him to teach my kids - he seems to have judgement and self entitlement issues.

 

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