Earlier this month, substitute teacher Allison Wint was leading an art history lesson which focussed on Georgia O’Keeffe, famous for her abstract paintings which often represent female genitalia and flowers simultaneously.
"Imagine walking into a gallery when [O'Keeffe] was first showing her pieces, and thinking; 'Am I actually seeing vaginas here, am I a pervert? I'm either a pervert or this woman was a pervert,’” Wint recalled saying the class.
Wint said she was trying to spark an insightful conversation with her teenage students and while she admitted to using the word vagina about 10 times, she stressed it was never in a vulgar way.
Now, she’s insisting officials from Harper Creek Middle School deemed the word inappropriate for 14-15-year-old ears and dismissed her.
The school, however, is contesting this claim – it says Wint was fired for failing to seek approval on a controversial topic.
"She was not terminated due to uttering the word 'vagina'," a statement said. "We do not shy away from controversial issues. We work very diligently to ensure that all students, staff and contracted personnel are treated fairly with respect and privacy."
Wint says she was never informed about the need to seek approval and defended her choice, saying she hadn’t want to use a euphemism which turn send her lesson into a joke.
"I don't think [vagina] is a word you should be afraid of," she said.
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A Michigan-based teacher says she’s been unfairly fired for discussing the female anatomy in her middle-school art class – specifically, paintings depicting vaginas.