A lesbian teacher who wrote to her school asking for LGBT students to be protected against discrimination has been suspended for six months.
Stacy Bailey, who was made teacher of the year at Texas’s Charlotte Anderson Elementary School in 2016, wrote to several school board members in August.
“I think it is important that [the district] starts movement towards progress now. We have many LGBTQ teachers, students, and families in this district.
“We deserve the right to feel protected by our district.”
Bailey said the district broke federal law by refusing to end racial segregation in schools for 11 years after the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. The Board of Education.
“As a teacher who loves where teach and my community,” she added, “I would like for us to be on the correct side of history this time.”
Two weeks later, she emailed staff at another school in the district to ask about its gay-straight alliance and how she could achieve her goal of securing protections for LGBT students.
But the next day, Bailey was sent a letter informing her that she had been placed on immediate paid administrative leave “until an investigation has been completed.”
The letter, which was signed by district superintendent Jim Vaszauskas, gave no reason for the suspension or the investigation.
But Bailey was told to “make no contact with students, parents or other staff members,” and warned not to talk about her “administrative leave situation with others.”
The teacher did not sign the letter, according to a handwritten note on the signature line.
Bailey has received support from parents and students, around 40 of whom attended a school board meeting on February 28 to back the art teacher.
Some carried signs that said “I stand with Miss Bailey,” while others brought in art which they had made in her classroom.
One parent, Rebecca Cavitt, told the board: “She brings diversity to this classroom that is lacking in so many schools and in so many districts today.
“She accepts my child for who she is and she loves her for it. I’m perplexed how this person who everyone seems to adore can be kept from our children.”
Bailey’s attorney, Giana Ortiz, defended her client, saying that “her record… has been exemplary.
“She has touched many lives through her passion for teaching and for her students. I believe it is a great disservice to the children of Charlotte Anderson Elementary that they’ve been without their art teacher for the majority of this year.”
District authorities have stated that its policy “prohibits discrimination, including harassment, against any employee on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability or any other basis prohibited by law.
“In other words, Mansfield ISD does not condone harassment or discrimination of any kind toward anyone.”