Target: Principal Kim Thayer of Harper Creek Middle School
Goal: Reinstate substitute art teacher allegedly fired for using the word “vagina” in a class art lecture.
Ms. Allison Wint gave a lecture to her art class about controversy in art. In discussing Georgia O’Keeffe’s work, the substitute teacher used the word “vagina,” a medically and scientifically correct term for female genitalia, to describe artwork featuring that very image. The next day, Ms. Wint was terminated from her position at Harper Creek Middle School.
During the lecture, Ms. Wint states that she said to her class “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.'” Ms. Wint says that she used the word “vagina” during her lecture “maybe 10 times, but it was never in a vulgar capacity.”
Ms. Wint alleges that she was terminated from her position by the school for using the word, stating that she was told her termination was justified by a school policy she was unaware existed. According to Ms. Wint, Harper Creek Middle School has a policy that states she must seek “advanced approval when discussing any form of reproductive health.”
Harper Creek Middle School, on the other hand, released a statement addressing the controversy surrounding Ms. Wint’s termination. In the statement, Harper Creek said that “allegations [of] controversial subject matter” did not have anything to do with Ms. Wint’s termination, but instead she was fired because “the District [had] concerns that [Ms. Wint] did not follow district art curriculum.” The school also pointed out that “these concerns, in addition to other failures” formed the basis for Ms. Wint’s termination.
Ms. Wint claims that the only run-in with administration she had prior to them informing her of termination was when she was told to take down a student-made banner behind her desk that read: “Marriage is about love, not gender.” Ms. Wint also says that when she was informed of her termination by Principal Kim Thayer, she was told “there are a thousand other ways to teach controversy” and that her usage of the word “vagina” was “inappropriate.”
Sign the petition to let Harper Creek Middle School know that their termination of Ms. Allison Wint was unjust and she should be hired back on to teach a subject she loves to Harper Creek students.
Dear Principal Thayer,
The termination of Ms. Allison Wint from Harper Creek Middle School has become a source of controversy in the media, especially considering that the termination is alleged to be justified by a school policy that is clearly inapplicable to her situation. Using the word “vagina” as part of a lecture on Georgia O’Keeffe’s work is not using the word “vagina” in a capacity of “reproductive health.” Further, the term is medically and scientifically correct and, according to Ms. Wint, was never used in a vulgar capacity.
It is with this in mind that we urge you to rectify the controversy caused by Ms. Wint’s termination by giving Ms. Wint back her teaching position. In terms of art, legitimate controversy will always exist and should be discussed, similarly to how legitimate controversies should be discussed in all subjects. According to Ms. Wint’s statements, she taught the controversy surrounding Georgia O’Keeffe’s art in an academic way, devoid of vulgarities. She should not be punished for educating in a civil manner about a pertinent topic in her subject.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: georgiaokeeffe.net