Professor Sylvain Helaine, 35, said he was prevented from teaching kindergarten at a school in the Paris suburb of France after parents reported that his appearance scared a three-year-old boy. He has tattoos on his body, face and tongue, in addition to the pigmented white part of his eye.
‘Freaky Hoody’, as he is known in the tattoo world, he is considered the most tattooed person in France, according to the newspaper “Le Figaro”.
Helaine served as a substitute teacher at a school in the city of Palaiseau, about 20 km from Paris. His students were between 6 and 11 years old.
“I always provoke a moment of astonishment in children and parents. But when I introduce myself and they see that I am a teacher like the others, everything is going well, ”he told Le Point.
However, the parents of a 3-year-old boy, whom Helaine had never taught, told the school board that the son had nightmares after seeing him. A few months later, he was removed from office.
French professor Sylvain Helaine, known as ‘Freaky Hoody’, is photographed in Palaiseau, France, on September 22 – Photo: Christophe Archambault / AFP
A school spokesman said a deal was made to get him out of kindergarten education, as students under the age of 6 may “be scared by his appearance”.
Helaine regretted the school’s attitude. “I think the decision they made was very sad because they never supported me, they immediately followed their parents’ point of view,” he told Reuters.
The teacher believes that his presence in the school environment would help children learn to be more tolerant.
Some testimonies heard by “Figaro” at the school entrance show that the issue provokes a debate.
One father said he agreed with the board’s decision. “If I were a school principal, I would not hire. He can be competent. I don’t think this is correct, ”he declared.
The students seem to agree with the teacher. “The first time I saw him what scared me most was his eyes,” said a former student to the newspaper.
“Gradually, you get used to it”, commented one student.
“If I get a tattoo, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to become a bad person. A tattoo does not change a person’s character or behavior, ”said a third student.