W. Mich. substitute teacher fired for using anatomical word during lesson
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A West Michigan substitute teacher says she was fired for using an anatomical word during a teaching lesson.
The Battle Creek substitute teacher was fired on Friday, and says she had no clue saying the word "vagina" would cost her her job.
If you ask Allison Wint why she was fired from Harper Creek Middle School, she will tell you it's because she uttered the word 'vagina.'
"Yes, I did say that word however I was saying it in the context of art history; I wasn't being vulgar," she said.
The substitute art teacher claims she said it to a room full of 8th graders trying to explain historical interpretations of Georgia O'Keefe's paintings. But to school officials, Wint crossed the line--and violated school policy.
"I did not know about this policy, they were entirely within their right to remove me, however I was not aware of this policy beforehand; if I had known about this policy, I would have never done it without approval," Wint said.
But her explanation wasn't enough; Harper Creek Community Schools released a quote from their school handbook, indicating teachers are required to get advanced approval when discussing any form of reproductive health.
Wint says even so, she is still in disbelief she was dismissed.
"I honestly had no words, because I've always been an advocate of not censoring art and music and writing," she said.
After clearing out her classroom and packing all her artwork into her car, Wint says losing her students hurts more than losing her job and she will not fight her termination.
"I harbor no ill will against them," she said.
Wint was a longtime substitute, placed at Harper Creek through an outside agency.
She says she now plans to look for work somewhere else.
We have contacted the school and they directed us to a statement that they posted on the school's Facebook page. It reads:
Harper Creek Community Schools prides itself on being an outstanding educational institution which consistently operates with purpose, respect, and integrity. We are aware of the allegations that controversial subject matter resulted in a substitute teacher, employed through a third party agency, not being invited back for further service. This is not the case. We do not shy away from controversial issues. The District did have concerns that the substitute teacher did not follow district art curriculum. These concerns, in addition to other failures, were the basis for the determination. We work very diligently to ensure that all students, staff and contracted personnel are treated fairly with respect and privacy.