A Texas art teacher who was suspended for discussing her sexual orientation filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the school district for discrimination.
Stacy Bailey, a former teacher at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School in Arlington, alleges she was discriminated against by the Mansfield Independent School District and two employees because she’s gay, according to the New York Daily News.
Bailey was suspended with pay in September for discussing her sexual orientation with her students, the Dallas Morning News reported. The school district said in a statement to the newspaper at the time Bailey was suspended over insisting that it is “her right and that it is age appropriate for her to have ongoing discussions with elementary-aged students about her own sexual orientation, the sexual orientation of artists, and their relationships with other gay artists.”
A parent complained to the school’s principal in August 2017 about Bailey promoting a “homosexual agenda” and talking about her “future wife” – whom she married in March – the New York Daily News reported, citing the lawsuit. The parent complained again in September, which led to the suspension.
The school district is “sending the message that it believed LGBT teachers were not acceptable to teach elementary students,” her attorney Jason Smith said at a news conference, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
The lawsuit named Mansfield superintendent Jim Vaszauskas and associate superintendent of human resources Kimberly Cantu and will be filed under the equal protection clause of the Constitution, the Star-Telegram reported.
"I'm disappointed in MISD," Trisha Savage, a parent of a Charlotte Anderson student, told the Star-Telegram. "They handled this horribly and now will be fighting a battle that could have been avoided. What would the harm have been to have reinstated her in her classroom at the school she loves who loves her?"
Bailey’s contract was renewed April 23 and the school told her May 1 she had been reassigned to a secondary school, the newspaper reported.
Bailey is still listed as the art teacher on the Charlotte Anderson school website.