The 35-year-old is now only able to teach children older than six after a parent at his school complained his appearance was giving their three-year-old nightmares
A heavily tattooed man claims he lost his teaching job at a kindergarten after dying his eyeballs black.
Sylvain Helaine, 35, says a parent at the school in Paris complained his appearance gave their three-year-old child nightmares.
But the Frenchman, who even has tattoos on his face and tongue, still teaches children from the age of six up.
Mr Helaine, known as Freaky Hoody, estimates he has spent 460 hours under the tattoists’ needle, and the whites of his eyes have been surgically turned black.
Aside from an initial shock when they see him for the first time, his pupils see past his appearance, he claims.
“All of my students and their parents were always cool with me because basically they knew me,” Mr Helaine said.
“It’s only when people see me from far away that they can assume the worst.”
He said last year he was teaching kindergarten at the Docteur Morere Elementary School in Palaiseau, a suburb of Paris, when the parents of a three-year-old complained to educational authorities.
They said their son, who was not taught by Mr Helaine, had nightmares after seeing him.
A couple of months later the school authorities informed him he would no longer teach kindergarten children, he claims.
“I think the decision they took was quite sad,” Mr Helaine said.
A spokesman for the local education authority told the Reuters news agency an agreement was reached with Mr Helaine to move him away from teaching younger kindergarten children.
Pupils aged under six “could be frightened by his appearance”, the spokesman said.
Despite no longer being allowed to teach the younger age groups, Mr Helaine said he loved his career and would stick with it.
He said: “I’m a primary school teacher … I love my job.”
Mr Helaine said he started getting tattoos at the age of 27 when, while teaching at a private school in London, where he had an “existential crisis”.
Since then, he said, “Getting tattoos is my passion.”
He said that through his appearance he hoped to show his young pupils that they should be accepting of people who are different to themselves.
He said: “Maybe when they are adults they will be less racist and less homophobic and more open-minded.”