A heavily tattooed man claims he lost his teaching job in a kindergarten after dying his eyeballs black.
Sylvain Helaine, 35, says a parent at the school in Paris complained that his looks gave three-year-old children nightmares.
But the Frenchman, who even has tattoos on his face and tongue, still teaches children from the age of six.
Known as the Freaky Hoody, Mr Helaine estimates he spent 460 hours under the tattoo artist’s needle and the whites of his eyes surgically turned black.
Aside from an initial shock when they first see him, his students see beyond his looks, he claims.
“All of my students and their parents were always cool with me because they basically knew me,” said Mr Helaine.
“Only when people can see me from a distance can they assume the worst.”
He said he was teaching kindergarten at Docteur Morere Elementary School in Palaiseau, a suburb of Paris, last year when the parents of a three-year-old complained to the education authorities.
They said their son, who was not tutored by Mr Helaine, had nightmares after seeing him.
A few months later, the school authorities informed him that he would no longer teach kindergarten children, he claims.
“I think the decision they made was pretty sad,” said Helaine.
A spokesman for the local education authority told Reuters news agency that an agreement had been reached with Mr. Helaine to prevent him from teaching younger kindergarten children.
Students under the age of six “might be shocked by his appearance,” the spokesman said.
Although he was no longer 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.”
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Mr Helaine said he started getting tattoos at the age of 27 while teaching at a private school in London where he was having an “existential crisis”.
Since then he has said, “Getting tattoos is my passion.”
He said that through his demeanor he hoped to show his young students that they should accept people who are different from them.
He said: “Perhaps as adults they are less racist, less homophobic and more open-minded.”