Stacy Bailey Reaches $100,000 Settlement with Texas School District
The Mansfield Independent School District has agreed to pay a $100,000 settlement to Stacy Bailey after she filed suit against the district for discrimination against her for being gay.
Bailey was suspended from her job as an art teacher at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School in Arlington, TX in August 2017 after a slideshow she used to introduce herself to a 4th grade class. In the slideshow f was a picture of Bailey and her fiance Julie Vasquez, who Bailey mentioned would be her future wife. A parent complained that Bailey was promoting a homosexual agenda among her students, and Bailey was suspended from her position. After an 8-month suspension, Bailey was told she would be transferred to a high school in the district and would not be returning to the elementary school where she had taught for 10 years and was voted "Teacher of the Year" twice.
Bailey filed a discrimination lawsuit against the district, saying she was being punished by the district for her sexual orientation. According to the New York Times, the school district argued that Bailey's orientation was not the cause of her suspension, but that she did not follow district guidelines that state controversial topics must be taught in an impartial and objective manner,
Teachers shall not use the classroom to transmit personal belief regarding political or sectarian issues.
This past November, Judge Sam A. Lindsay of U.S. District Court in Dallas ruled that there was not sufficient evidence that Bailey had violated any of the district's rules and action taken against her was a violation of her 14th Amendment rights,
Based on the pleadings, the court reasonably draws the inference that Mansfield I.S.D.’s decision to place her on administrative leave for eight months and then not permit her to resume her job teaching art to elementary school students was based on her sexual orientation and a desire to appease complaining parents in the community operating on the basis of outdated stereotypes about homosexuals.
Though Mansfield I.S.D. has agreed to pay a settlement, they have not acknowledged any discrimination against Bailey,
All parties deny any wrongdoing or liability, but wish to resolve their disputes to avoid the time, expense, stress and other impacts of continuing litigation, which would interfere with the mission of educating the students of MISD.
As part of the settlement, MISD agreed to remove the suspension from Bailey's record and give her a letter of recommendation for future job opportunities. The district will also provide mandatory training on LGBTQ issues for its human resources department and must consider adopting a formal guideline against the discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Bailey stated that she hopes her victory will serve as an encouragement to LGBTQ teachers, and a warning to others attempted to discriminate against them,
If a district is thinking about bullying or shaming a gay teacher out of their job, I hope they remember my name. And I hope they think twice.
Bailey said she was scared when she first arrived at Lake Ridge High School where she was transferred to, but was met with open arms by LGBTQ students who greeted her with gift baskets, rainbow flags, and candy.