A former Texas teacher of the year, who has been on paid administrative leave since September after parents complained she was pushing a “homosexual agenda,” is suing the school district for discrimination.
According to the federal lawsuit, Stacy Bailey believes the Mansfield Independent School District put her on paid administrative leave, then offered to transfer her to a secondary school, because she is gay.
“Stacy Bailey wants Mansfield to admit what they did was wrong,” said her attorney, Jason Smith during a news conference in Dallas on Tuesday.
Parents complained after Bailey introduced herself to her class at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School in Arlington, Texas, with a slideshow of her friends and family, including a picture with her wife, who was then her fiancée, according to the lawsuit.
She was put on leave after she mentioned a male artist who had a male partner, said the suit.
“We’ve been in disbelief, we’ve been shocked, we’ve been hurt deeply,” said Julie Vasquez, Bailey’s wife.
“She was treated differently than heterosexual couples who show their significant others,” Smith said.
“The Mansfield Independent School District categorically denies the allegations in the lawsuit filed today by Stacy Bailey,” the district said in a statement, adding “we are confident this lawsuit will not warrant merit.”
The statement continued, “Mrs. Bailey has been a teacher with Mansfield (Independent School District) 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.”
At a board meeting last month, dozens of parents, teachers, students and community members on both sides of the issue spoke passionately about her case.
The district ultimately decided to renew Bailey’s contract, but she still isn’t back in the classroom.
They offered to transfer her to a secondary school, but she thinks that sends the wrong message.
“It sends the message that lesbians and gays can’t teach elementary students, that’s why it’s wrong,” Smith said.
Vasquez said her wife, isn’t just fighting for herself. She said, she wants to set a precedent and get specific protections for the LGBTQ community added in the school’s anti-discrimination policy.