A tattooed kindergarten teacher in France, who spent nearly 500 hours under the needle, was banned from teaching children under six after a parent complained about giving nightmares to their child.
Sylvain Helaine, now 35, started covering his entire body in tattoos after going through an “existential crisis” at age 27 while working for a private school in London, according to Reuters. Not only did he cover his entire face and tongue with ink, but he even surgically altered the whites of his eyes to appear black.
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However, last year, while teaching kindergarten at Docteur Morere Elementary School in Palaiseau, a suburb of Paris, the parents of a three-year-old student complained to authorities, the outlet reported. Although their son was not educated by Helaine, they claimed that their son had nightmares after seeing him.
Helaine later learned that he would no longer be teaching kindergarten. A spokesperson noted that students under the age of six “might be frightened by his appearance,” according to Reuters.
Helaine was disheartened by the officials’ decision.
“I think the decision they made was pretty sad,” he said.
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However, Helaine is still able to teach children ages 6 and up.
Although getting a tattoo is his “passion” he said he wanted to stay in his career as an elementary school teacher.
“I love my job,” he says.
Finally, after a first shock, he says his students are able to see beyond his outward appearance.
“All of my students and their parents have always been cool with me because they basically know me,” he said.
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He hopes he can use this experience as a learning lesson for his students about accepting different people.
“Maybe when they are adults they will be less racist, less homophobic and more open-minded,” he said.
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