A teacher spoke a word apparently so outrageous, so nauseating, that she was fired from her job. That word? Vagina.
Last week, substitute teacher Allison Wint was leading an art history class at Michigan's Harper Creek Middle School, a job she had been in since January, while discussing the paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Some of O'Keeffe's work looks like abstract portrayals of the female anatomy, and Wint recalled saying 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'."
Wint said she was trying to spark an insightful conversation with her teenage students, using the word vagina about 10 times, which she stressed was never in a vulgar way. But it was deemed inappropriate for 14-15-year-old ears, costing the Michigan woman her job.
However school officials have rebuffed Wint's claims that the specific word "vagina" was the reason, saying she was given the boot for veering from the curriculum and for failing to tell the principal she would be discussing controversial issues.
"She was not terminated due to uttering the word 'vagina'," a statement said.
"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."
But Wint said she did not know she had to seek approval.
She said she hadn't wanted to use a euphemism, like the oft-used "vajayjay" or "lady bits", so as to not turn her lesson into a joke.
"I don't think [vagina] is a word you should be afraid of," she said.
Wint told local TV station WWMT she was in disbelief at her sacking.
"I honestly had no words, because I've always been an advocate of not censoring art and music and writing," she said.