Beauty is in the eye of the beholder -- or on the arm of the beholder, in this case.

Kelli Ann DeVoe certainly finds the tattoo on her upper left arm attractive. It's an elaborate rose she says symbolizes a woman's inner strength and perserverence.

However, not everyone appreciates skin art. Some might even find it offensive.

DeVoe seems to understand that, even if she doesn't agree with it.

To the 32-year-old single mother of two, it's narrow thinking that can lead to discrimination of tattooed people.

She should know.

DeVoe, who recently graduated from the York County School of Technology's Licensed Practical Nurse program, was shocked when she opened her graduation photos and found her tattoo had been airbrushed out.

"It wasn't the school's place to judge me," she said. "It's 2013, and it's about time that we get over it. There are a lot of really intelligent people who have one tattoo or maybe a sleeve, and they're stereotyped or looked over."

According to Stuart Savin, the coordinator of adult education, the school follows the standards of other nursing programs and clinical sites that require tattoos to be covered.

"In our student code of conduct, tattoos are not permitted ... because some could be offensive," he said. "If a student wants to come to our program, we're very upfront about it."

He said neither he nor the program's coordinator directed the photographer to air-brush away DeVoe's tattoo, but he noted the school contracts with a photographer to "have them produce a clean photo."


Devoe said she always covered her arms at clinical sites and, to the best of her knowledge, has never offended a patient. But she expected the class photo to offer an accurate representation of her, including her choice of self-expression.

We believe the school could have handled this situation better.

In fact, Savin said, he'll make sure the photo release forms are changed to clearly note the school's policy, per clinical guidelines, requires tattoos to be covered.

But let's be clear: School officials are perfectly within their rights to enforce standards -- especially if those are the same standards students will have to adhere to in a workplace.

We understand more young people are sporting body art these days, and there might come a time when no one will bat an eye at such a colorful display.

Despite DeVoe's desires, that time clearly is not now.

Although there are some professions for which tattoos are perfectly acceptable, there are many more for which employers consider them inappropriate.


Maybe, but it's a fact of life.

The world is full of wonderful forms of self-expression that are frowned upon in the workplace.

It might be worth keeping that in mind when considering whether or where to get that tattoo.