Meet Sylvain Helaine. He loves his tattoos. Clearly. He loves showcasing his body art on his Instagram page @FreakyHoody. He also loves his job – teaching kindy at an elementary school just outside of Paris.
Recently Sylvain shared the news that he was barred from his job as a kindergarten teacher at Docteur Morere Elementary School.
Three guesses why…
Tattoos lead to teacher’s ban
According to Sylvain, all was going well in the classroom until one of the parents complained about his appearance. Which, let’s be honest, is a little out there, especially for a kindy teacher.
Sylvian, 35, has spent over $45,000 on tattoos that cover the majority of his body, including his face, neck, and head.
He estimates that he’s spent around 460 hours in the tattoo chair and recently had the whites of his eyes tattooed black.
To each their own, we get it. But, we can also see how this would be a tad scary for kids!
Anyhow, according to the parent, the teacher’s tattoos and appearance gave their child nightmares. It wasn’t a child in the classroom, who are all five-years-old, but rather one of the student’s younger siblings, a three-year-old.
Older kids only
School administrators have since pulled him out of the kindergarten classroom and informed him that he can only teach children six and older.
While Sylvain has accepted the terms, he does admit he feels a little defeated by their decision.
I think the decision they took was quite sad. All of my students and their parents were always cool with me because basically, they knew me. It’s only when people see me from far away that they can assume the worst,” Sylvain says.
Two sides to every story
The decision has also divided the internet with parents weighing in on both sides. On the one hand, his look is a bit intense, especially for little kids. If children are being negatively impacted by someone’s appearance, do we tell them to grin and bear it or do we remove the fear to protect them?
However, on the other hand, what happened to inclusiveness in the classroom? We teach our kids to look beyond appearances, that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, and that beauty comes from within. Sylvain is an ideal candidate to teach children about inclusion and to respect those who may look a little different.
Another thing to remember is that in the classroom most of Sylvain’s body would be covered and he would probably not be posing in terrifying ways – this is his hobby outside the classroom. But, of course, it does impact those inside the classroom too … after all, his eyes remain black regardless of where he is.
What the internet has to say
Some of the hater’s comments include:
“Calling attention to one’s self which is exactly what this fellow is doing tells us of other issues. None of which I find appealing in the least. Nope! Not my children! I also have the right to say NO Thank you!”
“Seriously sick. Why would anyone do that?”
“Wouldn’t be teaching my children.”
Some of the comments supporting Sylvain include:
“As long as he’s a good person I don’t care if he has tattoos everywhere?”
“My KINDERGARTNERS would love him. Our students are taught to respect everyone and learn new facts about them.”
“Some of the nicest people have tattoos. That’s a lot, but it’s his body.”
His body. His choice. But what happens if his choice is negatively impacting the kids? It’s a tough call, that’s for sure!