Lesbian teacher mounts legal fight over claim she promoted ‘homosexual agenda’ in classroom
A lesbian teacher who claims she was suspended for talking about her sexuality with pupils has launched a legal fight against her employer.
Stacy Bailey, an art teacher at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School in Mansfield, Texas, shared photos of her friends, family and partner with children at the beginning of term last August.
She was placed on leave with pay by the Mansfield Independent School District shortly after.
Now, she is taking her employer to court claiming she was discriminated against and suspended after being accused of promoting a “homosexual agenda” by a parent.
In the lawsuit, filed in Dallas on Tuesday, Bailey alleges: “On or about August 25, 2017, while providing an introduction to a class, by showing ‘First Day of School’ power point, [Bailey] shared photos of her parents, her family, her ‘future wife,’ her best friends, and pictures of [herself] as a child in an effort to engage the students.
“This technique is widely used by other teachers. [Bailey] then showed the students slides providing class rules, rewards and expectations for the year.”
“Later that week, [she] was informed by the Principal that a parent complained to the school board and superintendent about [Bailey] promoting the ‘homosexual agenda’ by discussing her ‘future wife.'”
The school district denies the allegations.
In a statement reported by Texas’s Star-Telegram newspaper, it said: “Mrs. Bailey has been a teacher with Mansfield ISD for a decade.
“During her tenure with the district, there has never been an issue with her open sexual preferences until this year.
“That’s when her actions in the classroom changed, which prompted her students to voice concerns to their parents.”
The response goes on to claim that Bailey, who won her school’s teacher of the year award in 2016, failed to follow district guidelines which state that “controversial subjects” be taught in an “impartial and objective manner.”
“The record will show through discovery in this lawsuit that Mansfield ISD is and has been an inclusive, supportive environment for LGBT staff for decades,” the district said.
Bailey and her partner, Julie Vasquez, married in March. Speaking outside court on Tuesday, Vasquez said: “It is shocking and disappointing that Mansfield district officials treated my wife differently when she spoke about her family, just as every teacher does.”
She added: “My wife has endured eight months of isolation, mistreatment, and silence imposed on her by Mansfield ISD.
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“The district has violated my wife’s constitutional rights, which protect her from this treatment, and we are standing up for them today.”
Parents of Bailey’s pupils have voiced support for the suspended teacher. One quoted by the Star-Telegram said: “My daughter adores Ms. Bailey and misses her so much, and I know she’s not the only student who feels this way.
“I hope that she is able to do so and that the district takes quick action to rectify this situation and ensure nothing like this will happen to another teacher ever again.”
Others were less positive. Jonathan Saenz, the president of the Christian advocacy group Texas Values, said: “This frivolous lawsuit is another sad example of how LGBT advocates put politics over parental rights and indoctrination over education.”