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Do Teachers Grade Students Based On Appearance?

March 21, 2016

    High school students all around the country have always been told not to get body modifications such as piercings, hair dye, and scarification (maybe explain scarification in case people don’t know what it is). Is there a good reason?

    Why do teenagers undertake body modifications anyways? In a 2007 article about why people get tattoos, it was mentioned that tattoos give the youth “feelings of greater control and authority over their own lives” (Jones). Also, tattoos can display maturity and autonomy, if utilized in a nuanced way. A couple decades ago, tattoos were used in gangs. Now, the stereotype has changed since most of the tattooed youth are “high-achieving students” (Jones). Nevertheless, teachers still seem to discriminate against modified teenagers.

    Body modifications are becoming the norm in our society. Parents are starting to consent to these procedures, and some parents even encourage them. In 1999, Melody Pabon, a teenaged freshman at the time, told Louis J. Salome, a reporter, that she had become addicted to piercings. Unlike many teens, she did not pierce herself, but, was rather encouraged by her mom and aunt to get her nose and navel pierced professionally. She says, “I wouldn’t do it without my mother.” If Pabon shows that she is mature and responsible with her body modifications, then there are similar teenagers who are also responsible. Also, Pabon is among the numerous students that have piercings, so students should not be graded differently from a pierceless classmate. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

    Students should be able to do whatever they want to their body, with parental consent, and not be graded and treated differently at school. People think that this discrimination does not happen anymore, and that is where they are wrong. Just last year in my private high school, a teacher got fired for telling a student that she “will never get anywhere in life.” This teacher had also nearly failed the student. Mind you that this student has A’s in all of her other classes. It is very rude and unfair to be judged that way. Teachers cannot be prejudiced against students with body modifications.

    Little do teachers know the effect that something like that can do to a student. Fortunately, the teacher in my small school got fired. The student, on the other hand, still has some issues with her appearance and self confidence. Some schools cannot fire a teacher for a many number of reasons. Some schools need all the teachers they have, and cannot afford to lose one.

    My parents told me that after a year of high school, good grades, and good relations with my teachers, only then can I get my septum pierced. Why do I have to make a good first impression based on my appearance and knowledge? Does a facial piercing make me any less capable of learning than my classmates? The thought that a student’s grades would drastically change due to a simple piercing is revolting. This notion must be eliminated for every student that wants to express themselves by body modifications.

    On the other hand, these prejudice acts do not only occur in schools. They occur also in work settings and normal day-to-day life. Maybe schools are trying to prepare their students for the “real world.” Additionally,some modifications can be extremely regretful once you grow up. For instance, tattoos and gauges can be removed and fixed, but both procedures are expensive and dangerous. Lastly, some modifications are dangerous to begin with. Reputable shops can be hard to find nowadays.

    So yes, as of right now, do not get any body modifications in high school. Especially if you want good grades and good relations with your teachers.


                                                        Works Cited
Egan, Jennifer. "The Thin Red Line." New York Times Magazine. 27 Jul. 1997: 21+. SIRS Issues
    Researcher. Web. 09 Mar. 2016.
Jensen, J.J. "Tattoo You and Piercings, Too." The Seattle Times (Seattle, WA). Jan. 28 2005:
    D1-D2. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 09 Mar. 2016.
Kang, Miliann, and Katherine Jones. "Why Do People Get Tattoos?." Contexts Vol. 6, No. 1.
    Winter 2007: 42-47. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 09 Mar. 2016.
Salome, Louis J. "The Finer Points of Body Piercing." Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, FL).
    Sept. 30 1999: n.p. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 09 Mar. 2016.

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