PARIS, France—A local kindergarten teacher was removed from the classroom after complaints over his body tattoos from a parent pressured the administration to act.
35-year old teacher Sylvain Helaine—a jack-of-all-trades who also does acting, modeling, and comedy in his spare time—was relieved from his teaching duties for two months and then subsequently prohibited from teaching children under the age of six after the parents of a 3-year-old complained their son had nightmares.
Helaine, who teaches at Docteur Morere Elementary School in the Paris suburb of Palaiseau, was distraught when interviewed about his removal: “I think it’s just disgusting…They didn’t even try to convince the parent that I was a good teacher and that I had a lot of experience…I felt betrayed by them and I’m a bit sad.”
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Having taught for more than 12 years, he’d only had a few comments from parents. While working in London, he first decided to change his appearance at 27 because he didn’t think he would be judged.
Most of his body is covered in tattoos, and he had his tongue and the whites of his eyes surgically blackened. He got his first “layer” of tattoos over a three-and-a-half-year period.
Helaine knew he wanted to be a teacher when he was ten years old and hopes to continue teaching. “Primary school teacher is a job that you want to be forever,” he said. “I just want people to judge me for my work.”
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Source: USA TODAY