How do you discuss the works of Georgia O’Keefe without ever saying the word “Vagina?” Veeeeerrrrrry carefully if you happen to be a middle school art teacher working in the state of Michigan, as Allison Wint learned the hard way.
3WWMT reports Allison Wint, a long-term substitute art teacher was summarily fired from her job at Harper Creek Middle School in Battle Creek for saying the word “vagina” in class.
The substitute art teacher claims she said it to a room full of 8th graders trying to explain historical interpretations of Georgia O’Keefe’s paintings. But to school officials, Wint crossed the line–and violated school policy.
The thing is, she insists she had no idea this policy existed.
“Yes, I did say that word. However I was saying it in the context of art history; I wasn’t being vulgar, I did not know about this policy, they were entirely within their right to remove me. However I was not aware of this policy beforehand; if I had known about this policy, I would have never done it without approval.”
And, yes, technically, the policy exists. But it falls under a section of the school handbook titled “Reproductive Health and Family Planning” (sexual education). How on earth was Allison Wint to know that using the word “vagina” to describe Georgia O’Keefe’s frankly feminine flower and landscape paintings would violate a school policy on teaching sexual education?
The District shall notify the parents, in advance of the instruction and about the content of the instruction, give the parents an opportunity, prior to instruction, to review the materials to be used (other than tests) as well as the opportunity to observe the instruction, and advise the parents of their right to have their child excused from instruction.
Seriously, since when does merely saying the word “vagina” mean that you’re teaching a sexual education class? This is not only an insult to sanity and the institution of public education, it also constitutes a wrongful firing and the art teacher should lawyer up and sue the district. Then again, the Republicans have completed their hostile takeover of Michigan, so children no longer have a right to arts education and workers no longer have any rights at all.
Allison Wint added that she is still stunned by her firing:
“I honestly had no words, because I’ve always been an advocate of not censoring art and music and writing,”
She told 3WWMT she harbors “no ill will” towards the school and doesn’t plan on fighting their decision. What hurts the most for her is losing her students.