A two-time Teacher of the Year at her elementary school, art teacher Stacy Bailey was suspended, placed on administrative leave, after showing her students a picture of her then-girlfriend. Now, Bailey is filing a lawsuit against the school district involved in the decision, alleging that their actions were based in discrimination.
Bailey has been a teacher at her Texas elementary school, Charlotte Anderson Elementary, located in the Mansfield Independent School District in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, since 2008.
“Stacy is filing this lawsuit and taking this action in hopes of pushing Mansfield out of the shadows of discrimination and into the sunshine of equal rights,” said Bailey’s attorney, Jason Smith, according to a report by NBC News.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court on Tuesday and includes the school district as well as two administrators as defendants. Bailey is claiming that the defendants discriminated against her due to her sexual orientation.
In August, Bailey presented images of her family, best friends, and “future wife” in a “Get to Know Your Teacher” presentation. Later that week, a parent filed a complaint with the school board and superintendent stating that Bailey was promoting a “homosexual agenda” with students, according to the lawsuit.
She was ultimately placed on administrative leave in September, then asked for her resignation in October. Bailey refused to resign and, while she requested to return to Charlotte Anderson Elementary, was reassigned this month to a high school in the district.
“Defendants placed plaintiff on administrative leave, improperly publicly discussed her employment status publicly, refused to return her to her previous position in an elementary school, transferred her to a secondary school and determined she was not appropriate to teach elementary students all because of her sexual orientation and status as a lesbian,” reads the lawsuit.
In response, the Mansfield Independent School District claimed Bailey’s lawsuit does “not warrant merit.” Additionally, they “categorically deny the allegations,” saying in a statement that the school district “has been an inclusive, supportive environment for LGBT staff for decades.”
“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,” said the district in a statement. “The issue at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School is whether Mrs. Bailey has followed district guidelines requiring that controversial subjects be taught in ‘an impartial and objective manner.’”
“Teachers shall not use the classroom to transmit personal beliefs regarding political or sectarian issues,” the statement added.