Sylvain Helaine, 35, is still a school teacher in Paris, just not for younger children anymore. Also known as Freaky Hoody, Helaine has a large social media presence. His body is covered in tattoos and up until recently, he was teaching kindergartners.
With ink that completely covers his body even on his face and tongue, Helaine says he’s spent 460 hours getting permanent body art. Until recently, there didn’t seem to be problem at his teaching job, but according to The Mirror that all changed once he got his eyes surgically blackened.
He says that his students are perfectly fine with his appearance; they truly see past his bold and colorful countenance.
“All of my students and their parents were always cool with me because basically, they knew me,” he said. “It’s only when people see me from far away that they can assume the worst.”
But one parent at the Docteur Morere Elementary School in Palaiseau wasn’t so understanding.
According to The Mirror, the parent of a three-year-old who is not in Helaine’s class complained to the school that their child was having trouble sleeping over the teacher’s appearance. They claim their son was having nightmares.
The School Says “No” to Teaching Younger Kids
The school decided that it would be best if Helaine stopped teaching kindergarten. “I think the decision they took was quite sad,” he said.
A school spokesperson told a news agency that an agreement had been reached between the board and the educator to move away from teaching smaller kids because pupils under six “could be frightened by his appearance.”
Undaunted by the decision, the illustrated educator says, “I’m a primary school teacher … I love my job.”
Hoping that his appearance would convey to kids that they should be accepting of others, Helaine says the lesson is a longterm teachable moment.
“Maybe when they are adults they will be less racist and less homophobic and more open-minded,” he said.