Kathryn Lindsay
April 28, 2016 9:24 am
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Today in things that make us shake our heads, a substitute teacher at Harper Creek Middle School in Battle Creek, Michigan was fired last week for saying the word “vagina” in class. Now, we know that could sound possibly inappropriate. But Allison Wint was teaching an 8th grade art history lesson about painter Georgia O’Keeffe when she used the term in the context of O’Keeffe’s (very vaginal-looking) art. However, Allison soon found out that saying “vagina” in a classroom violated a school policy and was promptly fired from her longtime substitute position.

“I did not know about this policy,” Allison told WWMT.com. “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.”

As the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum explains, the painter was an icon of American modernism known for her landscapes, both cities and deserts, and paintings of flowers. Many of her paintings of flowers are considered to look like the folds of a labia and some say O’Keeffe was inspired by vaginas, but had to mask her paintings due to the time period.

As WWMT.com reports, according to the Harper Creek Community Schools’ handbook, teachers are required to obtain advanced approval before discussing any kind of reproductive health. Even, apparently, in the context of artwork.

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Of course, when the internet got wind of what happened, they took to social media to call out the schools’ policy:

Allison Wint thinks needing approval to say “vagina” in class is censorship. “I honestly had no words, because I’ve always been an advocate of not censoring art and music and writing,” Allison told WWMT.com. What hurts most, she continued, is losing the students, with whom she had forged meaningful relationships during her time substituting at the school.

She’s handling this whole mess with impressive grace, saying she won’t be fighting her dismissal and harbors “no ill will” against the school.

What do you think about the school’s decision? Let us know in the comments?

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