I missed this story the first time it came around. The suspension has been revoked now.

School suspensions lifted for 3 ‘Vagina warriors’
Last Updated: Wednesday, March 14, 2007 | 11:11 AM ET
CBC Arts

Suspensions imposed on three New York City area high school students for including the word “vagina” in a reading from The Vagina Monologues have been rescinded, one girl’s mother said Tuesday.

Louise Katzin, mother of Hannah Levinson, 16, said the district school superintendent called her Monday night to say the suspensions had been lifted.

Superintendent Bob Lichtenfeld said he rescinded the suspensions before they were to take effect Monday and instead met with the girls.

The case drew public attention after Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues, a feminist play that explores female sexuality, defended the girls as “Vagina warriors.”

Ensler lauded “the intelligence and grace and dignity of these girls.”

“I think it’s a victory for free speech,” she said after hearing the suspensions had been lifted. “I’ve always hoped that the play would engender dialogue and education for younger girls around their bodies and their rights.”

The students — Levinson, Megan Reback and Elan Stahl — used the word “vagina” March 2 during a public reading at John Jay High School, a public school in the New York City suburb of Cross River.

Their school principal said he issued a suspension because they disobeyed a direct order not to use the word, and argued it was not appropriate for a public event.
Girls attack censorship

The girls acknowledged they were being insubordinate, but said it was wrong to censor literature and to treat the word “vagina” as controversial.

“We knew it was the right thing to do,” Levinson said. “Since we’re comfortable saying it, we should make other people comfortable saying it.”

Ensler has accepted an invitation to speak at the school March 28.

The girls may also have sparked a review of censorship policies in their school district.

Lichtenfeld said the board would be looking into “an overall plan for the future as far as censorship is concerned,” Katzin said.

On Tuesday, the New York Civil Liberties Union issued a statement in support of the teens.

It was “shocking that school administrators would object to the public performance of a renowned literary work” because it contained the word “vagina,” executive director Donna Lieberman said.

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