When she showed a picture of her future wife to her students, lesbian teacher Stacey Bailey had no idea what she was about to face.
Despite having worked at the Charlotte Anderson Elementary School in Arlington, Texas, for a decade – and been twice selected Teacher of the Year – the woman was placed on administrative leave.
After a year-long legal battle, she is now back in the classroom. Except this is not the same classroom she used to teach.
The lesbian teacher and her ‘homosexual agenda’
The teacher filed a lawsuit against Texas’ Mansfield Independent School District in May 2018.
Texas is one of 28 states in the US that do not have a state law protecting employees from discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation.
According to the lawsuit, a parent had complained to the school board and the superintendent. Apparently, showing a picture of her and now wife Julie Vasquez wearing Disney Pixar’s Nemo and Dory costumes was promoting a ‘homosexual agenda’.
Bailey did so during a ‘Get to Know Your Teacher’ presentation in September 2017.
Among the backlash, the lesbian teacher also received support from people angry at the decision.
‘In September, after showing her class this picture & pointing out that the other woman is her wife, Stacey was suspended & has been on paid leave,’ one user wrote posting the picture which sparked the debate.
‘RETWEET if you’re MAD.’
Bailey is back in the classroom
The art teacher has won the lawsuit and she is now back in class. However, she will no longer teach to the students of Charlotte Anderson.
The Dallas-area school district, in fact, transferred her from the elementary school to a high school. As a result, her classroom size increased from approximately 20 students to around 40.
‘She has never taught anything other than an elementary school level,’ Bailey’s attorney Jason C. N. Smith told NBC News.
‘She’s disappointed that she doesn’t get to return to Charlotte Anderson, and the learning curve to teach at the high school level is daunting,’ he added.
‘But Stacey loves teaching art to students and hopes to find it rewarding, even with the increased workload.’
‘Defendants placed plaintiff on administrative leave, improperly discussed her employment status publicly,’ Bailey’s lawsuit states.
Furthermore, the decision of transferring her to a secondary school ‘determined she was not appropriate to teach elementary students all because of her sexual orientation’.
The school district, at the time, claimed the issue was not due to Bailey’s sexual orientation. They explained it concerned the ‘district guidelines requiring that controversial subjects be taught in an impartial and objective manner.’
Baileys’s attorney said they are going to appeal the decision of transferring her client to another school.
However, Mansfield ISD filed a motion to dismiss Bailey’s lawsuit. They said her new high school position ‘is arguably a more prestigious position than that of an elementary school art teacher’.
Read more from Gay Star News: