A Texas art teacher has been placed on administrative leave for no other apparent reason than for being gay, she and her attorney claim, and she’s suing to get her job back, The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram is reporting.
Stacy Bailey’s employment status with the Mansfield School District, in suburban Dallas, can best be described at this time as “complicated.” Currently she’s on paid administrative leave, with an assignment to teach at an as-yet-unnamed “secondary school” in the district. This after years of teaching art in one of the district’s elementary schools, Charlotte Anderson Elementary School. There, she had twice been voted Teacher of the Year and had received “exemplary reviews,” says her attorney, Jason Smith.
Bailey’s career as an elementary art teacher came to an end on September 8, 2017. The trouble had started a few weeks earlier, at the start of the school year, during a “get to know your teacher” slide show. As Newsweek notes, Bailey showed her students photographs of her then-girlfriend (now her wife) and some of her gay friends.
Parents complained that she was “promoting a homosexual agenda,” as evidenced by text messages between Anderson Principal Sheira Petty and superintendent Jim Vaszauskas. What happened between then and September 8 remains unclear; however, Bailey, perhaps suspecting that her job might be in jeopardy, “made inquiries about establishing stronger protections for LGBT students and employees.” It was after that that she was placed on administrative leave.
Texas art teacher Stacy Bailey, who was suspended last September after she showed students a photo of her “future wife,” filed a federal lawsuit against her school district on Tuesday for discrimination: https://t.co/ZEl7ANP7Gc
— Amber Jamieson (@ambiej) May 8, 2018
Bailey’s suspension created an uproar in Mansfield, with allies and opponents coming to school board meetings to support or oppose her reinstatement.
Pastor Tanika Dean, a parent in the district, said that Bailey’s lifestyle encroaches on parents’ rights to not have their kids exposed to the “gay agenda.”
“I stand with parents of MISD who are supporting the suspension of Stacy Bailey.”
But colleague Kristen Hendrix called Bailey a mentor.
“She is a role model teacher and one that I look up to.”
Bailey’s contract has, in fact, been reinstated — sort of. On April 23, Bailey was sent a letter informing her that her contract had been renewed, though she would still remain on paid administrative leave for the remainder of this year while her case is investigated. And on May 1, she was told that she was welcome back in the classroom beginning next year, but not at an elementary school.
That’s not good enough for Bailey. She wants her job back at Charlotte, and she’s suing the district.
Her attorney says that her reassignment sends the message that “LGBT teachers were not acceptable to teach elementary students.”
Bailey is asking for her old job back, as well as an acknowledgement from the district that what it did was illegal “and should never be done again.”