When it comes to the relationship teachers have with students, there are boundaries and rules in place. However, many teachers are open with their students about certain aspects of their personal life outside of school.
For example, many teachers speak about their husbands, wives, children, and other family members openly with their students frequently in school–it’s not out of the ordinary. But, one teacher in Texas is paying big time with a suspension from teaching after parents “complained” about her honesty with her students.
Stacy Bailey is an elementary school art teacher in Arlington, Texas at Charlotte Anderson Elementary. In September of last year, Bailey was suspended from the school–despite winning “teacher of the year” twice. According to reports, the school district received complaints from parents after Bailey had told her students she was married to a woman. The Dallas Morning News reported the suspension, saying parents were “concerned” with Bailey discussing sexual orientation with elementary-aged students.
A press release from the Mansfield Independent School District stated that:
Parents have the right to control the conversation with their children, especially as it relates to religion, politics, sex/sexual orientation, etc.
— Ms. Clayton (@msclayton_cae) May 8, 2017
Bailey’s lawyer says the school district is misconstruing information, claiming only one parent complained–not multiple.
“MISD has resorted to a press release, misstating the facts and attempting to paint Stacy as lacking judgment or moral compass. The fact is that she was placed on leave after years of exemplary work based on a single parent complaint.”
Bailey has tried to reason with the school district and tried to have an “open conversation” about the discrimination she was facing for being a gay teacher. The school retaliated by stating Bailey was not fired for being gay, but for having conversations with the students about being gay.
The District’s concerns regarding Ms. Bailey are not about her request to have our nondiscrimination policies reviewed and/or revised with regard to LGBTQ rights. Mansfield ISD welcomes that discussion through the District’s established policy review committee. Rather, the District’s concern is that Ms. Bailey 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.
Many students and parents, however, disagree with this falsehood. Parents have spoken out saying their children had “no idea” that Bailey was gay. In fact, parents have said she’s an “incredible” art teacher and has, over the years, taught students remarkable lessons about art and art history.
Carol Daulton, whose daughter Heather was a student of Bailey’s, said:
When Heather was in first grade, she saw a print of surrealist René Magritte’s “The Son of Man” on the wall of a restaurant during a family dinner. She was able to tell us who the artist was, the meaning of different aspects of the painting, tell us about the painter and how he was close to his mother and had painted it during a period of mourning after her death. My husband and I were stunned. We googled it. Everything she was telling us was right there in Wikipedia.”
Now, a petition is circling around the town and school district trying to protect the rights of Bailey and others like her. The petition has over 2,000 signatures, with numerous parents trying to right a wrong done by the school district.