'Mr. Snake' — France's Most Tatted Man — Banned from Teaching Kindergarten Because He Scares Children

Monday September 28, 2020

Sylvain Helaine
Sylvain Helaine  (Source:Instagram)

A French schoolteacher whose body is covered in tattoos has been banned from teaching kindergarten because he frightens children, CNN reports via Reuters.

"But the teacher, Sylvain Helaine, 35, still teaches children from the age of six up, and 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 Helaine, who estimated he has spent around 460 hours under the tattooists' needle.

"It's only when people see me from far away that they can assume the worst."

Sylvain Helaine was teaching at the Docteur Morere Elementary School in Palaiseau, a suburb of Paris, last year when the parents of a three-year-old complained to educational authorities.

"They said their son, who was not taught by Helaine, had nightmares after seeing him," reports the Daily Mail.

A couple of months later the school authorities informed him he would no longer teach kindergarten children, he told Reuters. "I think the decision they took was quite sad," he added.

He continues to teach, but his pupils must be six-years of age and older.

Helaine started getting tattoos when he was 27 while teaching at a private school in London and in the midst of an "existential crisis."

Getting tattoos is my passion," he told Reuters.

No part of Helaine's body is without ink, including his torso, limbs and face. He also has tatts on his palms, the soles of his feet, his genitals and even gums and tongue.

He received the nickname Mr. Snake due to a tat of the reptile that travels down his skull.

He has even had his pupils dyed black, a procedure he had to travel to Switzerland to do because it is banned in France, reports Agence France-Presse via The Jakarta Post.

"It was torture. They hold your eyes open and you feel the needle pierce" the white of your eye, he said.

"And you never know what will happen, which is why I say to people, 'Don't do it!"

"But for me, I felt incomplete without it," said Helaine, who has spent 57,000 euros ($66,000) on his body art over the last eight years.

"Known as Freaky Hoody on social media, where he has nearly 60,000 followers, Helaine insists that he does not regret any of his tattoos, from the colored flowers on his shaved head to the demon head on his back," reports Agence France-Presse.

"I am probably going to end up completely black at 80," he added.

And his tats have opened doors for him with modeling agencies taking him on as he pursues film and television work.

"Helaine 'came out' as a body art icon at school three years ago when he was still living with his mother, the only way, he said, he could finance his tattoos 'on a teacher's salary.'" writes Agence France-Presse.

His appearance, he argued, was a good lesson for his pupils in accepting and respecting others.

"Children who see me learn tolerance of others. When they are adults they may be less likely to be racist or homophobic, and they will not look at disabled people as if they were something from a circus."

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