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Tattoo artist banned from career day

Posted at 8:05 AM, Nov 05, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-05 08:10:57-05

TAMPA, Fla. (WFTS) - A Florida father says he practices a legitimate business and has every right to share his experience at his daughter's middle school career day. But some parents at the school said they did not want a tattoo artist sharing what they call, his "alternative lifestyle" with their kids.

Smith was told by the principal at Clearwater Fundamental Middle School he's not allowed to participate in career day in two weeks, even though he's participated the past two years.

In his email the school principal says some parents complained and feel Smith is promoting an alternative lifestyle.

Smith, who is licensed to run his shop wrote this email back, saying he actually discourages students from getting tattoos before they turn 18. Still, the principal, who admits to having tattoos and piercings himself, says his decision is not personal but politically correct.

Smith also tries to school students on how getting tattoos and piercings is similar to a surgical procedure and talks for the need for sterilizations to prevent the spread of diseases like hepatitis and HIV.

Smith doesn't think tattooing is looked at as a legitimate career, but just like a doctor or a lawyer he has long term clients.

"This is an art. And that's just it. I make a living," he said.

The career day is a part of a program called the Great American Teach-In. The school district says it stands behind the principal's decision.