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Man covered his face with tattoos. It cost him his kindergarten job

September 29, 2020 08:52 IST
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A schoolteacher whose body, face and tongue are covered in tattoos and who has had the whites of his eyes surgically turned black said he was prevented from teaching at a French kindergarten after a parent complained he scared their child.

IMAGE: Sylvain Helaine was teaching at the Docteur Morere Elementary School in Palaiseau, a suburb of Paris, last year when the parents of a three-year-old complained to educational authorities. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

Sylvain Helaine, 35, was asked to switch age groups when a parent complained he gave their three-year-old nightmares.

 

He said last year he was teaching at the Docteur Morere Elementary School in Palaiseau, a suburb of Paris, when the parent said their son, who was not taught by Helaine, was scared after seeing him.

A couple of months later the school authorities informed him he would no longer teach kindergarten children.

IMAGE: Helaine, who was born in Paris, got his first ink when he was 27 and has since spent over £35,000 (Rs 33 lakh) and around 460 hours under the tattooists' needle. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

Helaine says tha after an initial shock when his students see him for the first time, his pupils see past his appearance.

"All of my students and their parents were always cool with me because basically they knew me," said Helaine, who estimated he has spent around 460 hours under the tattooists' needle.

IMAGE: He said he started getting tattoos when, while teaching at a private school in London, he had an 'existential crisis'. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

Despite the setbacks, Helaine said he would stick with his chosen career. "I'm a primary school teacher... I love my job."

He said he started getting tattoos at the age of 27 when, while teaching at a private school in London, he had an "existential crisis". Since then, he said, "Getting tattoos is my passion."

IMAGE: Helaine, who has had his tongue tattooed and the whites of his eyes surgically turned black, said he would stick with his chosen career despite the setbacks. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

He said he hoped to show his pupils that they should accept people who are different from the norm. "Maybe when they are adults they will be less racist and less homophobic and more open-minded," he said.

IMAGE: He said he hoped to show his pupils that they should accept people who are different from the norm. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters
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