Mansfield ISD teacher files federal discrimination lawsuit against district

A Mansfield teacher is suing the school district for discriminating against her because she's gay.

The federal lawsuit says the district removed her from teaching elementary school kids in the fall after showing a picture of her future wife.

Stacy Bailey's attorney says she wants her job back, but she also wants an apology and for the district treat gays and lesbians with respect and equality. Bailey has spent 10 years with the district employed as an art teacher at Charlotte Anderson Elementary.

“She taught them about the artists and made the projects fun so they really miss her,” said parent Amy Villanueva.

The lawsuit said life changed dramatically for the two-time teacher of the year after she showed a first day of school Powerpoint presentation with pictures of her family and "future wife."

Bailey did not speak to reporters, but her wife and attorney did.

“Teaching art to these children has been her life's love and passion,” said wife Julie Vasquez. “It is shocking and disappointing that Mansfield district officials treated my wife differently when she spoke about her family just as every teacher does.”

According to the lawsuit, some parents complained bailey was promoting a "homosexual agenda" and showing sexually inappropriate images to children. Bailey denies the allegations.

She was removed from teaching on Sept. 8, 2017 and placed on paid administrative leave. In October she was asked to resign, but refused.

Mansfield ISD decided to renew her contract after parents came to her defense, but she was to be transferred to a secondary school. She wants to stay at Charlotte Anderson Elementary.

“Transferring Stacy out of Charlotte Anderson when she did nothing wrong sends the wrong message that lesbians and gays can't teach elementary school students,” said attorney Jason Smith.

Sheree Richter, who lives near the school, said she personally doesn’t have a problem with gay teachers. But she feels differently when discussions with kids take place.

“It's for their parents to talk to them about, it's not for their teacher to talk to them about for sure,” Richter said.

Smith said Bailey never got into a serious discussion about gay issues with her students.

“When she talked to her students, she talked about her family and all families are worthy of respect,” Smith said.

In a statement, the district there was never an issue with Bailey's sexual preference until this year when her actions changed. It says at issue is whether Bailey followed guidelines that controversial subjects be taught in "an impartial and objective manner. Teachers shall not use the classroom to transmit personal belief regarding political or sectarian issues."

The district denies all allegations and says it's confident the lawsuit has no merit.

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