A kindergarten teacher with tattoos in France, who spent nearly 500 hours under the needle, was banned from teaching children under the age of six after a parent complained that he had given their child nightmares.
Sylvain Helaine, now 35, began covering his entire body with tattoos after experiencing an “existential crisis” at the age of 27 while working at a private school in London, according to Reuters. He not only covered his entire face and tongue with ink, but even surgically changed the white of his eyes to look black.
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However, last year, while teaching kindergarten at the Docteur Morere primary school in Palaiseau, a suburb of Paris, the parents of a three-year-old student complained to staff, the newspaper reported. Although their son was not taught by Helein, they claimed that their son had nightmares after seeing him.
Helein was later told he would no longer teach kindergarten. A spokesman noted that students under the age of six “may be intimidated by his appearance,” according to Reuters.
Helane was discouraged by the staff’s move.
“I think the decision they made was pretty sad,” he said.
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However, Helane is still able to teach children aged 6 and over.
Although tattoos are his “passion”, he said he wants to stick to his career as a primary school teacher.
“I love my job,” he said.
Eventually, after an initial shock, he says his students are able to see his appearance.
“All my students and their parents were always cool with me because they generally knew me,” he said.
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He hopes to be able to use this experience as a lesson for his students about accepting different people.
“Maybe when they are adults, they will be less racist and less homophobic and more open,” he said.
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