A tattoo-covered kindergarten teacher in France, who has spent nearly 500 hours under the needle, was prohibited from teaching children under the age of six after a parent complained that he gave their child nightmares.
Sylvain Helaine, now 35, began covering his entire body in tattoos after going through an “existential crisis” at 27 years old while working for a private school in London, according to Reuters. Not only has he covered his entire face and tongue in ink, but he even surgically altered the whites of his eyes to appear black.
However, last year, while teaching kindergarten at the Docteur Morere Elementary School in Palaiseau, a suburb of Paris, parents of a three-year-old student complained to officials, the outlet reported. Although their son wasn’t taught by Helaine, they claimed their son had nightmares after seeing him.
Helaine was later told that he would no longer teach kindergarten. A spokesman noted that students under six years old “could be frightened by his appearance,” according to Reuters.
Helaine was disheartened by the move by officials.
“I think the decision they took was quite sad,” he said.
However, Helaine is still able to teach children who are 6 years old and above.
Although getting tattoos is his “passion,” he said that wants to stick with 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 past his outer appearance.
“All of my students and their parents were always cool with me because basically they knew me,” he said.
It’s his hope that he can use this experience as a learning lesson for his students about accepting people who are different.
“Maybe when they are adults they will be less racist and less homophobic and more open-minded,” he said.