Teacher Fired For Using the word "Vagina": Censorship Gone Too Far?

A teacher lost her job for using the word Vagina in a lecture about art history for 8th graders. Should she really have lost her job for using the correct term for female anatomy? Why is the word Vagina deemed vulgar? Censorship in schools gone too far?


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If it's against the rules then I think she should have got a warning instead of being fired.  I have a feeling she should have known better though given the climate at the school.  I support her right to talk about the issue with classes.  However, the school is saying she was a substitute teacher who was let go for not following the curriculum. 

To be clear, she was lecturing about Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings. O'Keeffe is famous for flower paintings and most garden flowers are generally hermaphroditic, incorporating both male and female reproductive parts in the same structure.

Even so, the female sex parts of flowers are very imperfect vagina analogs. There's almost no comparison other than in terms of function. So, using the word vagina when referring to flowers is such a stretch as to be almost impossible to justify, which doesn't work to her favor.

I'm curious if she's even allowed to mention that flowers have a reproductive function. 

She shouldn't have been fired, though. It's not like she used the word "cunt."

Georgia O'Keeffe often painted flowers and landscapes that were suggestive of a vagina. It would be hard to give a lecture on her and not mention it.

I disagree. Her Wikipedia entry mentions neither vaginas or even sex.

I think that some of them are kind of suggestive of vaginas, in an obviously deliberate way. 

I don't see it, especially when compared with a coffee bean.

....or the Virgin Mary....

Oh my goodness. I'm glad that wasn't in the classroom.

Yes, this is just silly... 8th graders should be well versed in both the colloquial and technical meaning of the word vagina. Was it a christian school or something? I can't imagine this being an issue in a normal school.

I don't agree with this overly broad policy...nor do I agree with this extreme overreaction...nor her being fired...but the school is totally in the right to do this. She broached a taboo topic with 14 year olds before discussing policy with the faculty.

If any of my grade 8 teachers (other than sex-ed ones) said vagina...we would have gone totally insane for days...with all the immature, teasing, joking, disruptive, immature antics you can think of. The lesson would have been irrelevant as the only thing which would have stuck would have been the word vagina. We would call each other vaginas, ask girls how big their vaginas were, draw vaginas on the teachers desk, send anonymous emails to the faculty from vagina@vagina.cu and on and on. It would have been a very fun couple of weeks for us.

A lot of these examples seem very specific, Davis. Are you drawing on personal history? ;-)

Kids should be taught the proper anatomic terms for all of our parts, without implying it's shameful to have that part.

I remember when I was in about 5th or 6th grade, most of the kids knew a variety of curse words for vaginas, penises, and anuses. They used those terms all of the time, expecially in referring to each other. Kids that age should be taught these parts are normal to have, and are not something to be ashamed of.

I don't know what age they should be, when taught there is special pleasure with those parts.

ON the other hand, there are rules, and parents. Parents might think kids are too innocent to know those words. Unlike every generation before them. If the rules list words that a teracher can't say, or give a guideline that says "You can't use anatomic terms", then a disciplinary action is understandible.


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