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Tattooed Teacher Banned from Teaching Kindy Due to ‘Scary’ Appearance

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…

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Sylvian is an avid fan of tattoos, in case you didn’t notice. Source: Facebook

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.

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460 hours and $45,000 later… Source: Facebook

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. 

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Source: Facebook

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?

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Source: Facebook

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!

What to read next

Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.


  1. Avatar of Allan

    This person seems to forget that children are not equipped at such a young age to understand the terrible choices that this individual has made that may directly or indirectly negatively impact the children that he is apparently so passionate about. Sure, there will be a mix of responses from kids. “Hey, he looks different and cool” … “Hey, why does that guy look like a crocodile, he’s a person”. But then there will be that one child who is just terrified for whatever reason. At such a young age, their reasons for being scared don’t matter … they are just scared. Rather than this guy trying to say “Hey kid, its OK, all people are different” .. perhaps a more appropriate response from him in this article should be “Hey kid, I’m really sorry that you can’t sleep at night anymore because my ridiculous face haunts every waking hour you are alone with your thoughts”. Your choices impact other people. It makes me so angry to think that you think others should just accept you without any consideration for how you impact them. Grow a brain buddy … at a minimum, perhaps tattoo one on any free space left on your head.

  2. Avatar of Jill

    I think for me it’s the eyes that tip it over for me….I get inclusivity, however very young children are more easily scared and harder to calm than older children…as horrible as I feel about it I agree with him teaching older children. I hope they did it in a respectful way though…ie brought him in for a discussion rather than just emailing and TELLING him you can’t teach kinder etc.

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