Texas Elementary Teacher Suspended After Discussing Sexual Orientation
MANSFIELD, TX – An elementary school teacher in Texas was suspended after she allegedly spoke about her sexual orientation with her students, officials said Tuesday.
Charlotte Anderson Elementary art teacher Stacy Bailey, 31, was suspended with pay in September. Officials with the Mansfield Independent School District (ISD) said it received complaints from parents about her discussing her sexual orientation with students.
In a statement sent to Newsweek, Mansfield ISD said it is their “general rule not to comment on employee personnel matters” but misinformation about Bailey’s personnel matter had “created disruption to the Charlotte Anderson Elementary School education environment.”
District officials said the teacher was not suspended over her request to include LGBTQ language in its nondiscrimination policy. Instead, the district said, Bailey was suspended because she “insists 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.”
“Parents have the right to control the conversation with their children, especially as it relates to religion, politics, sex/sexual orientation, etc.,” the statement continued.
Bailey had been warned after the district received parents’ complain but “refused to follow administration’s directions regarding age-appropriate conversation with students,” officials said.
The teacher’s attorney, Giana Ortiz, said that the situation began when she talked to students about her family, including her wife.
“The district appears to speak for Stacy when it states that she ‘insists it is her right and that is 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,” Ortiz told The Dallas Morning News.
Ortiz expressed frustration about the school district’s decision to speak about Bailey’s suspension, saying it violated Bailey’s rights under the Constitution.
Bailey’s supporters have rallied behind her, with parents pleading with the school board to reinstate their “beloved teacher” back to the classroom.
Florence Bruner, who has children at Charlotte Anderson Elementary, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: “As a parent, we ask a lot 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.”
Bruner, whose fourth-grade daughter has taken art classes with Bailey since kindergarten, added that Bailey is “dearly missed and loved by the children.”
Nearly three dozen people, including Bailey’s wife, father and sister, voiced their support for her during a school board meeting on Tuesday. Eight people, including third-grader Kaine Hendrix, spoke to the board about Bailey’s departure or to ask about including LGBTQ-inclusive language in the district’s anti-discrimination policy.
“Ms. Bailey was my teacher, my role model and someone who always cheered me up,” the 9-year-old boy said. “Every time I go to art it is not the same.”