It’s as American as apple pie. People discuss their spouses. In offices across the country, one of the most common things asked about is the welfare of someone’s significant other.
“Hey, Tom, how’s Julie and the kids?”
Teachers do this, too. Nobody blinks an eye at Mr. Johnson mentioning that his wife works at the elementary school next door. No one will turn a head when Mrs. Adams tells her class that she is going out on a date with her husband on Friday night.
Unfortunately, LGBTQ teachers live with a different set of standards. On a daily basis, they are discriminated against in the workplace. Often, the signs are obvious, with people making comments in the teacher’s lounge, but more often than not, the signs of discrimination aren’t so obvious.
As the LGBTQ lifestyle has become more prevalent on TV and in movies, acceptance has risen over the last decade (though it has taken a sharp decline since Trump took office). With same-sex marriage becoming legalized in 2015, there are many more LGBTQ teachers with spouses.
Just don’t talk about it.
Stacy Bailey, a teacher in Texas, found that out the hard way.
Mrs. Bailey is a popular elementary art school teacher in the Dallas area. In fact, she was the teacher of the year for her school in 2016.
And in September of 2017, she was suspended, with pay, from her position.
The reason for her suspension is not entirely clear. Early reports indicated that she simply mentioned her wife to her students, something that any straight teacher can do with no reprimand.
Other reports have indicated that Bailey taught her students about gay artists and how that influenced their lives and artwork. After all, Bailey is an art teacher, and human sexuality is a huge part of artwork, whether an artist is gay, straight, or part mermaid.
It has also been reported that she was suspended for asking the school district to include protections for LGBTQ employees in its discrimination policies. In an email obtained by the Dallas Morning News, Bailey is quoted as saying that, “I think it is important that MISD starts movement towards progress now.” She went on to say that, “We have many LGBTQ teachers, students, and families in this district. We deserve the right to feel protected by our district.”
Bailey also reached out to a nearby school for information on their gay-straight alliance.
The Mansfield Independent School District says that 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.”
The school district claims it is responding to complaints from parents. From reports online, many parents and students have showed up at board meetings to support Bailey.
This is not a case of a teacher getting over zealous and forcing her lifestyle on her students.
This is a case of a teacher taking steps to ensure that her students get a good education, that they have a safe learning environment, and that her fellow LGBTQ teachers are protected.
Bailey is being targeted and discriminated against for doing what any straight teacher would be applauded for doing – their job.
We need to let the Mansfield Independent School District know that this is not acceptable. Stacy Bailey has stood up for everyone around her – we need to stand up for her.
Contact these people and let them know that Tracy Bailey has your support. We have to stick together, those of us in the LGBTQ community and our allies. Discrimination against one of us is discrimination against all of us.
Click the link for their page or call the number provided.
- MISD Superintendent – 817-299-6302
- MISD Board of Trustees – All contact information to board members in the link.