Should Art Teacher Lose Her Job for Saying She’s a Lesbian?

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  • A Texas art teacher is fighting her suspension after revealing to her students that she is a lesbian.

    Stacy Bailey, an art teacher at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School in Mansfield, Texas, was showing a slideshow about her family to students, which included a photo of Bailey and her wife. In the days following the class, an unidentified parent contacted Superintendent Jim Vaszauskas expressing concern that Bailey was talking to students about her sexual orientation.

    Ultimately, on September 8, Bailey was placed on paid leave.

    Both sides had been silent in discussing this case, but the Mansfield Independent School District said misinformation had become a distraction to the day-to-day operations at Charlotte Anderson Elementary. Initially, reports said that Bailey had been suspended over an insistence that the district include LGBTQ language in their non-discrimination policy. But the district said it had concerns with Bailey’s desire “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.”

    But Stacy Bailey says that’s not what she did. A statement from her attorney, Giana Ortiz, reads in part: “For Stacy, this entire ordeal began when she spoke with the students about her family which, for Stacy, included her wife. The District appears to speak for Stacy when it states that she ‘insists it is her right and that it is age appropriate to discuss matters including ongoing discussions about her own sexuality. This is absolutely false. Further, she never received directives to change her behavior – and never refused to follow any directive.”

    So there are multiple disputes here between the district and Bailey. She says she mentioned she had a wife, but the school district said she was teaching the students about sexual orientation. The district also says Bailey had been given multiple warnings about changing her behavior, which her attorneys say did not happen.

    Many parents are upset about Bailey’s suspension. An online petition reached its goal of over 1,000 signatures asking for LGBT protection for employees and students in the school district. And parent Florence Bruner defended Bailey’s character. She said “As a parent, we ask a lot out of our children and our teachers, but there are two things we hope for the most — one is a teacher whose love of the subject inspires students, and the other is a teacher who cares deeply for our children. Stacy Bailey is without question both of these.”

    And parents and students have demonstrated, asking for Bailey to be reinstated. But, for the moment, it appears Bailey and the district are still in a standoff.

    Did the district overreact to Bailey bringing up her wife in front of her students? Let us know in the comments below.

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