An US art teacher has allegedly been sacked for discussing famous abstract paintings depicting female anatomy with her class.
Substitute teacher, Allison Wint, was conducting an art history lesson about abstract artist Georgia O’Keeffe, known for her paintings which often represent flowers resembling female genitalia.
Wint said she was attempting to encourage an insightful conversation with her students, who attend Harper Creek Middle School in Michigan.
“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 recalled saying to the class.
However, while she admitted to using the word ‘vagina’ about 10 times, she stressed it was never intended in a vulgar way.
Now, she claims that her school’s officials sacked her because they deemed the word inappropriate for 14-15-year-old ears.
The school is contesting this claim, saying Wint was dismissed for failing to seek approval on “a controversial topic”.
“She was not terminated due to uttering the word ‘vagina’,” the school said in a statement.
“We do not shy away from controversial issues. We work very diligently to ensure that all students, staff and contracted personnel are treated fairly with respect and privacy.”
However, Wint told WWMT that she was never informed about the need to seek approval and defended her choice, saying she didn’t want to use a euphemism which would have turned her lesson into a joke.
“I don't think [vagina] is a word you should be afraid of,” she said.