BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – Allison Wint contends she was fired for saying the word ‘vagina’ at school.
The longtime substitute teacher at Battle Creek’s Harper Creek Middle School told WWMT she said vagina while discussing the historical interpretations painter Georgia O’Keeffe’s work with 8th grade art students on Friday.
“Yes, I did say that word, however I was saying it in the context of art history; I wasn’t being vulgar,” Wint told the news site. “I honestly had no words, because I’ve always been an advocate for not censoring art and music and writing.”
Wint said she was unaware of a school policy prohibiting educators from discussing anything to do with reproductive health with students without first gaining permission from administrators.
“I did not know about this policy, they were entirely within their rights to remove me, however I was not aware of the policy beforehand,” she told the news site, “if I had known about this policy, I would have never done it without approval.”
O’Keeffe is an American painter best known for painting flowers that look a lot like vaginas, though she has repeatedly denied that there’s underlying anatomical symbolism in her works.
Regardless, school officials showed zero tolerance with the district’s no sex talk policy and ordered Wint to clear out her stuff and leave. She tried to explain that the utterance was unintentional, but officials didn’t care, she said.
Wint is certainly not the first teacher to face trouble for saying the word vagina.
Raw Story reports that Twin Falls high school science teacher Tim McDaniel was targeted by parents in 2013 over a biology lesson at Dietrich School about the reproductive system in which he said the V-word and angered the heavily Morman community.
Parents filed a complaint with the Idaho Professional Standards Commission over what McDaniel said was the same lesson on sex education that he’s taught for 18 years.
In Michigan, Wint said she is moving on with her life and looking for a new job, but doesn’t begrudge school officials for giving her the boot.
“I harbor no ill will against them,” she said.
Many local folks online were flabbergasted by the teacher’s dismissal.
“Boy, what is this world coming to when an anatomically correct word offends someone. What do they call it in sex ed?” Kaylene Hill questioned on Facebook.
Gabriella Maria quoted child abuse experts that specifically state to use proper terminology when discussing body parts with children or young adults because it ensures students are comfortable talking about their bodies and more likely to report any abuse.
“Harper Creek needs to wake up, these are not kindergartners!” she wrote. “There is no shame in talking about reproductive organs and saying their correct names could result in sexually abused children getting attention sooner than later. I’d like to see this policy.”
“And another reason kids are so soft and feel entitled!” Kelli Fisk Quigley wrote. “Omg, stop pussy footing around and give kids the facts!”