A teacher in Texas has filed a lawsuit against the school district, alleging she was discriminated against because she’s gay. Stacy Bailey, who teaches art at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School in Arlington, Texas, says she was removed from her classroom and placed on administrative leave because she included a picture of her now-wife in a classroom slideshow. The entire case is absolutely infuriating, and only highlights just how much work there is to do.
Stacy Bailey has been a teacher at the school since 2008. She’s been named Teacher of the Year TWICE. But one innocent picture has derailed her career.
Most students know details about the personal lives of their teachers. They see photos of family on desks. Teachers tell stories about them in class. @MansfieldISD, this is discriminatory. I stand beside you, Stacy Bailey. #equalityforall https://t.co/zBRZX751mM
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) May 10, 2018
During a slideshow Stacy put together to introduce herself to her new students, she included a photo of herself with then-girlfriend Julie Vazquez. Ms. Bailey and Ms. Vazquez had been together for seven years by that point. The picture showed the couple dressed as Dory and Nemo. Just a cute family photo! She referred to Ms. Vazquez as her “future wife”, and that’s when the trouble began.
Shortly after the slideshow presentation at the end of August, Ms. Bailey was informed by the principal that a parent had lodged a complaint.
The parent complained that Ms. Bailey was “promoting the homosexual agenda” by showing the class a picture of her dressed as a cartoon fish with the woman who would eventually become her wife. Ms. Bailey says the principal told her she’d done nothing wrong. In fact, that same parent had complained before, concerning a lesson on Jasper Johns and a comment made in passing about his partner, artist Robert Rauschenberg.
Just a reminder: Stacy Bailey was suspended from her job after a parent complained that she showed students a photo of her "future wife" during her introduction powerpoint presentation to students. The parent accused her of pushing a "homosexual agenda."
— Amber Jamieson (@ambiej) May 8, 2018
According to the lawsuit, the parent told assistant superintendent Kimberly Cantu that Ms. Bailey had shown the children “sexually inappropriate” images. The lawsuit also alleges that other parents lodged complaints after being urged to do so by the first parent. Cantu is listed as one of the defendants in the lawsuit.
Ms. Bailey was asked to resign in October, but refused. She was placed on administrative leave in September. She says she’s been instructed by the district not to speak about the case or attend events on school grounds.
Elementary school teacher Stacy Bailey was barred from her school when she shared material that was deemed “controversial.” It was a photo of her and her wife in?'Finding?Nemo'?costumes. https://t.co/OzqmVP6ykK pic.twitter.com/W0P65a38KJ
— Teaching Tolerance (@Tolerance_org) May 11, 2018
The Mansfield Independent School District sees things a bit differently. In a statement, they said, “There has never been an issue with her open sexual orientation until this year. That’s when her actions in the classroom changed, which prompted her students to voice concerns to their parents.” They claim the issue isn’t that Stacy Bailey is gay (sure, Jan). They allege she violated district guidelines that require “controversial subjects be taught in ‘an impartial and objective manner.’ Teachers shall not use the classroom to transmit personal belief regarding political or sectarian issues.”
Controversial subjects? Ohhhh…kay? She included a picture of her wife in a slideshow, and called her “my future wife”. Not sure what’s so controversial about that. Stacy Bailey says, “The bottom line is that our family has a right to talk about our family just the same as any other family.”
Yes, you do, Ms. Bailey. And I sincerely hope your lawsuit is successful, and you are able to return to the classroom where you belong. It’s 2018, people. This shouldn’t be an issue.