Named after the school’s first homecoming, the “Boys and Girls Inked” program has a different mission every year.
“It’s definitely about embracing the community and getting kids to be themselves,” said Principal Kelli Green. “It’s about showing kids that they’re accepted no matter what, whether for who they are or what they look like.”
The program offers tattoo and piercing classes to students in grades K-12 who are interested in showing up in blackface and other racist behavior.
“They’re showing that no matter your race, whether you’re a black guy, a brown guy, a white guy, whatever, people can accept you and make you proud,” Green said of the teens in the program. “That’s what it’s about … it’s not about being black. It’s about being you that are accepting a person because they’re different from everyone else.”
With no formal education, students in the program learn how to build a life around their identities — by learning to be themselves around their peers, family and peers in their communities.
“You have to let these kids know that they have a special community to which they belong,” Green said. “And the way that you express it is through your own tattoo and what you do outside of school. It’s not always about what the world thinks.”
Green points to a recent “Boys and Girls Inked” event at the school where a student with an ink-inspired design on her arm, a nod to tattoos worn by rappers — including Rick Ross and Snoop Dogg — met others of similar colors and colors and tattoos to make them proud.
The school is also using the program to engage with the community through the “Boys & Girls Inked” logo painted on the windows of the school’s sports halls. The “Boys & Girls Inked” logo is an iconic symbol of school spirit that is widely used in school and public parks worldwide.
During a recent “Boys & Girls Inked” session with students and community members, a community member explained about what a tattoo means to him: “To a lot of us who get tattoos, it’s a symbol that indicates where you’re from.”
“We use it to show the world what we’re from,” said another community member.
Other students at “Boys & Girls Inked” come from all over the world to show their pride. Some come as children of color or parents with
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