Reinstate Teacher Allegedly Fired for Saying “Vagina”

Georgia O'Keeffe Painting

Target: Rob Ridgeway, Superintendent of Harper Creek Community Schools

Goal: Rehire teacher reportedly let go for saying “vagina” in her middle school art class.

A teacher was allegedly fired just for saying the word “vagina” while teaching about controversial art in her middle school art class. According to Allison Wint, a substitute art teacher at Harper Creek Middle School in Battle Creek, Michigan, she asked her students, “Imagine walking into a gallery when [O’Keefe] was first showing her pieces, and thinking, ‘Am I actually seeing vaginas here?'”

Despite the fact that the students managed to have a productive discussion around art during that particular period, Wint apparently violated the school policy requiring teachers to “get advanced approval when discussing any form of reproductive health.” This suggests that Harper Creek Middle School considers the very mention of the word “vagina” to be a discussion of reproductive health despite the fact that the vagina exists for more than reproduction.

Vagina is not a dirty word, and firing a teacher for even saying it when it’s so often the subject of art teaches children that it’s something to be ashamed of. Ms. Wint did nothing wrong and did not deserve to be disciplined, let alone dismissed, for mentioning a body part. Sign our petition to demand that the Harper Creek Community Schools reinstates Allison Wint as a substitute teacher and apologizes for this incident.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Superintendent Ridgeway,

A substitute teacher for the Harper Creek Middle School was recently fired for the crime of saying the word “vagina” in the art class she was teaching. Ms. Allison Wint was merely trying to start a discussion about controversial art by talking about the famous artist Georgia O’Keefe. The fact that she was fired for this is ridiculous.

According to Wint, she was cited for failing to “get advanced approval when discussing any form of reproductive health.” The simple mention of a vagina that is involved in reproduction is not a discussion on reproductive health. The vagina and other sex characteristics have been depicted in important art many times and shying away from mentioning them sends the message that these body parts are inherently shameful. This is especially damaging to young girls.

I understand that you’ve claimed she was let go for not following the art curriculum, but I don’t buy that. The fact that a teacher needs advanced approval to discuss reproduction at all shows that your district considers anything involved in the subject to be dirty. I demand that you apologize to Ms. Wint and allow her to once again teach at your schools.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Georgia O’Keeffe

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