Tattoos in High School


Makayla Marquez

Makayla takes a picture of Joshua Parker’s calf, about an hour after his tattoo was done.

Joshua Parker, Staff Writer/Photographer

Have you ever walked through the halls of your school and noticed someone with a tattoo on his or her arm? What about their hands? Maybe even a person’s face? Tattoos are more common and have become popular worldwide, so popular that they’ve reached high school students.

Lulu, a senior at Cottonwood High School, has a couple of tattoos. “I have a matching one with my sister and my mom,”  she said. “It’s a circle with two dots. I also have one from my favorite movie Whisper of the Heart. It’s an outline of one of the characters.” When Colt Roundup asked what made her want to get these during high school, she said, “My sister and mom have a couple matching tattoos and I wanted to be included. Once I got my first one, I wanted more. I think it’s great to get them if you know what you want, and will be comfortable with having it on your body. I definitely think it’s more common since it’s easier to get one and more accepted.” The next question Colt Roundup asked was if people looked at her differently when they saw the tattoos. She answered, “I don’t know if I have ever been directly confronted about my tattoos. Adults and teachers have stared at them before, but I don’t think I’ve been judged about them. At least to my face.” The last question asked was if she would get more as she got older, she said, “Oh yes, for sure. I love aesthetically pleasing simple line work pieces, like the character outline on my arm.”

Tattoos have pros and cons, and when it comes to people’s opinions, more cons than pros, but why do so many high school students want them? What pushes them to put in the effort to get a tattoo? What do teachers think about tattoos? Do they have the same opinions as students?

Tony, a junior at Cottonwood, was also interviewed about this topic–he has no tattoos. The first question Colt Roundup asked was how he felt about tattoos and if he thought they had a positive or negative look on them. He answered, “Depends on what the tattoo is, like say if someone got a tattoo based on someone who has died, then that would be a positive thing, but if someone got some sort of gang tattoo then it would be negative.” The next question asked was how he felt about students having tattoos, especially in places where they’re standing out or obvious to see. He said, “It doesn’t really matter because that’s their life, as long as it’s appropriate.” The last question asked was if he would get a tattoo and where he’d have it. He said, “Yes I would when I’m older; I want an Aztec warrior with wings on my back.”

Cottonwood teacher Mr. Affolter said, “Tattoos are a personal decision… not my business! As long as they are able to get it, and they want it, I do not have an issue. I have two tattoos, but I’m glad I waited. I have changed a lot since high school… so my tats back then would be different. Both of mine are things I knew would never change, so I felt safe getting them. My first, commemorated my trip to Mongolia, the second, my major in college. Both of these will never change! Even if their importance is waned, they still occurred.” Then he said, “Dress code is a thing I have no influence on or comment about… it is what it is. I can’t change it, so it is not for me to say what should or should not be allowed. My daughter has talked about wanting to get a tattoo. My wife and I said this: 1. Come up with a design, 2. Keep it on a piece of paper that you can look at everyday, 3. If, after 6 months, you are still happy with it, you can get it. I think that is a good rule to go by.”

Students and others all have mixed emotions when it comes to tattoos. The majority of students seem to be alright with having tattoos in school, but not everyone. Tattoos have popularized majorly over the years, and teens have caught on to that.