Award-winning Texas elementary school teacher Stacy Bailey was suspended and reassigned to teach at a secondary school after showing students last year a photo of the woman who is now her wife.
At a Mansfield Independent School Board meeting, some parents objected, with one accusing Bailey of promoting “the LGBTQ agenda,” according to Texas Values, which says on its website that it stands for “biblical, Judeo-Christian values.”
Now she’s fighting back in court.
Bailey, who teaches art, had worked at the Charlotte Anderson Elementary School near Dallas since 2008. She is a two-time recipient of its teacher of the year award and had been given excellent performance reviews.
She said she believes the school district, along with its superintendent and associate superintendent, discriminated against her because of her sexual orientation.
She filed suit with attorney Jason Smith in the Northern District of Texas federal court on Tuesday, seeking punitive damages, an apology and reinstatement at Charlotte Anderson, according to The Star-Telegram, based in Fort Worth.
“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,” Smith told NBC 5, a local TV station.
The trouble began with that photograph.
Bailey included it with pictures of her family members, her closest friends and one of herself as a child in an Aug. 23 introductory PowerPoint presentation she used with new classes. Later in the week, according to the lawsuit, she was “informed by the principal that a parent complained to the school board and superintendent about plaintiff promoting the ‘homosexual agenda’ by discussing her ‘future wife.’”
“I don’t think you did anything wrong, but I don’t know what’s going to happen,” the principal said, according to the suit.
Bailey was suspended in early September. On Oct. 30, the school district asked for her resignation. She refused.
“The school district suspended me because they were uncomfortable with my sexual orientation,” Bailey wrote in a letter dated April 4 to district superintendent Jim Vaszauskas. It was published by The Star-Telegram.
In May, days after being notified that her contract would be renewed, Bailey received word that the district planned to transfer her to a secondary school.
“It is shocking and disappointing that Mansfield district officials treated my wife differently when she spoke about her family, just as every teacher does,” Julie Vasquez, whom Bailey married in March, said in a statement to the Star-Telegram.
The district said in a statement to NBC News that it is an “inclusive, supportive” place for LGBTQ teachers.
It said Bailey’s “actions in the classroom changed” last year and “prompted her students to voice concerns to their parents.”