But the teacher, Sylvain Hélaine, 35, still teaches children from the age of six, and says that after a first shock when they see him for the first time, his students see beyond his appearance. .
“All of my students and their parents have always been cool to me because they basically knew me,” said Helaine, who estimated she spent around 460 hours under the tattoo needle. “It’s only when people see me from afar that they can assume the worst.”
He said last year he was teaching kindergarten at Docteur Morere elementary school in Palaiseau, a suburb of Paris, when parents of a three-year-old complained to education authorities. They said their son, who had not been educated by Helaine, had nightmares after seeing him.
“I think the decision they made was pretty sad,” Helaine said.
A spokesperson for the local education authority said an agreement had been made with Helaine to remove her from kindergarten education. Students under the age of six “might be scared of his appearance,” the spokesperson said.
Despite the setbacks, Helaine said he would stay with his chosen career. “I am a teacher … I love my job.”
He said he started getting a tattoo at the age of 27 when, while teaching at a private school in London, he had an ‘existential crisis’. Since then, he says, “getting a tattoo has been my passion.”
He said he hoped to show his students that they should accept people who are different from the norm.
“Maybe when they are adults they will be less racist, less homophobic and more open-minded,” he said.
THE-CNN-WIRE ™ & © 2019 CABLE NEWS NETWORK, INC., A TIME WARNER COMPANY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.