Michigan teacher: I was fired for saying ‘vagina’ during middle school art lesson

Georgia O’Keefe paintings that appear to resemble vaginas.
Georgia O’Keefe paintings that appear to resemble vaginas.

By Steve Neavling
Motor City Muckraker

A substitute teacher at a Battle Creek middle school said she was fired for saying “vagina” several times during an art history lesson without getting “previous approval.”

Allison Wint said she was discussing paintings last week by Georgia O’Keefe, whose famous artwork includes flowers that resemble the female genitalia. The idea was to create a dialogue about controversy in art.

But the school’s principal, Kim Thayer, was not impressed and told Wint last week she was no longer wanted at the school. The district said she violated the school’s policy guidebook, which forbids teachers from discussing reproductive health without getting “previous approval.”

The district back-tracked Wednesday, saying Wint wasn’t fired for saying “vagina,” but because she was straying from the art curriculum.

Wint is looking for another job.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • Joeysback

    What “udder” nonsense—(pun intended!!). She wasn’t talking about “reproduction” but she was talking about ART!! And don’t believe for one minute that the kids were not aware of the similarities of O’Keefe’s works and female body parts! (What do you think Jr. High students spend 90% of their time thinking about and discussing in private? Or, are you too old to remember?) What is this country coming to?

  • Joeysback

    What “udder” nonsense—(pun intended!!). She wasn’t talking about “reproduction” but she was talking about ART!! And don’t believe for one minute that the kids were not aware of the similarities of O’Keefe’s works and female body parts! (What do you think Jr. High students spend 90% of their time thinking about and discussing in private? Or, are you too old to remember?) What is this country coming to?

  • Dongald Trumpenis

    “Vagina” is a term that should never be used in front of children in school.

    The proper term is “sinful, inferior, woman’s shame chamber” -as approved by the Church of Republicanism.

  • javierjuanmanuel

    Well dang, if they literally spell that out that specific in the guidebook, she should be able to follow it.

    Seems pretty straightforward, they expect kids not getting paid to follow the rule book, and in my experience in high school and college the rule books were just to trap kids, nothing in them could ever be used against teachers or administration. It was a one way street, so its nice to see them treating adults like adults, and make them follow a simple spelled out set of rules. This is the way it should be.

    Though I have to admit, I do not think firing for first offense if a fit punishment, maybe send her home for 2 weeks or a month no pay, but then the unions would never allow that. That being for a full time teacher, since she was just a sub, I guess the union does not care, and how can the school punish her except not have her back ?

  • javierjuanmanuel

    Well dang, if they literally spell that out that specific in the guidebook, she should be able to follow it.

    Seems pretty straightforward, they expect kids not getting paid to follow the rule book, and in my experience in high school and college the rule books were just to trap kids, nothing in them could ever be used against teachers or administration. It was a one way street, so its nice to see them treating adults like adults, and make them follow a simple spelled out set of rules. This is the way it should be.

    Though I have to admit, I do not think firing for first offense if a fit punishment, maybe send her home for 2 weeks or a month no pay, but then the unions would never allow that. That being for a full time teacher, since she was just a sub, I guess the union does not care, and how can the school punish her except not have her back ?