World

French teacher says tattoos cost him kindergarten job

PARIS: A schoolteacher whose body, face and tongue are covered in tattoos and who has had the whites of his eyes surgically turned black said he was prevented from teaching at a French kindergarten after a parent complained he scared their child.

But the teacher, Mr Sylvain Helaine, 35, said that, after an initial shock when they see him for the first time, his pupils see past his appearance.

"All of my students and their parents were always cool with me because basically they knew me," said Mr Helaine.

He said last year he was teaching kindergarten in a suburb of Paris, when the parents of a three-year-old child complained to the 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 said.

A spokesman for the local education authority said an agreement was reached with Mr Helaine to move him away from teaching kindergarten.

Pupils under six "could be frightened by his appearance", the spokesman said. - REUTERS

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