A Michigan teacher said she was fired for using the noun to describe female genitals multiple times during a classroom discussion about the artist Georgia O’Keeffe.
Allison Wint, who had been substitute teaching at Harper Creek Middle School since January, was discussing controversy in art when she held up some prints of O’Keeffe’s work, reported the Detroit Free Press.
“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 recalls saying.
Wint said she expected the eighth-graders to giggle, and they did, but she thought the discussion was productive.
“I thought if I used a euphemism, that would make it into a joke,” said Wint, who recalled using the correct anatomical term about 10 times. “And I don’t think that’s a word you should be afraid of.”
Wint insisted the discussion was never vulgar — but administrators fired her the next day for violating school policies.
Principal Kim Thayer told the substitute teacher to remove her belongings and leave the school within the hour.
“She said there are a thousand other ways to teach controversy, and that it was inappropriate,” Wint said.
Administrators said teachers must get advance approval to discuss any form of reproductive health — a policy they said was outlined in the school handbook, but Wint said she’d never heard about.
“I honestly had no words, because I’ve always been an advocate of not censoring art and music and writing,” said Wint, who’s looking for a new job.