Substitute teacher Allison Wint showed eighth-graders artwork by Georgia O'Keeffe—known for painting flowers that resemble female genitalia—during a lesson last Thursday, remarking that the first viewers who saw "vaginas" within the paintings likely thought, "I'm either a pervert or this woman was a pervert." She mentioned the word vagina "maybe 10 times" throughout the art history lesson, but "never in a vulgar capacity," she tells the Detroit Free Press. It was apparently enough to get her fired. Wint says the principal of Harper Creek Middle School in Battle Creek, Mich., asked her to leave school the next day because she had used the word vagina "without previous approval" and that "it was inappropriate."
"I thought if I used a euphemism, that would make it into a joke. And I don't think that's a word you should be afraid of," says Wint. "Being afraid of the word … creates an aura of shame around the body part." School officials say teachers need advance approval to discuss forms of reproductive health, per WWMT. Wint says she would have sought approval if she had known about the policy, but she won't try to reverse the school's decision. Some on Facebook, however, are calling for her to be reinstated. "Whoever fired this teacher should be ashamed of themselves," writes one user. "It seems some people at this school need to do some growing up, and it's not the students," says another. (A teacher said she was fired for discussing a famous court case.)