In the beginning of the 2017 school year, elementary teacher Stacy Bailey showed a get-to-know-your-teacher slideshow to her new students. Among the slides was a photo of her then-fiancé Julie Vazquez who she described as her "future wife."
A parent of one of her students complained to the Mansfield Independent School District (MISD) in Arlington, Texas, saying that Bailey promoted a "homosexual agenda."
Bailey, 33, is a two-time Teacher of the Year award-winner at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School.
Congrats again to our 2016 Charlotte Anderson Teacher of the year, Ms. Stacy Bailey! #MISDOscarNight2017 #youmakeusproud @msbailey_cae pic.twitter.com/VxulHogYPH
— Ms. Clayton (@msclayton_cae) May 8, 2017
Bailey was suspended after the incident because the district "received complaints from parents about Ms. Bailey discussing her sexual orientation with elementary-aged students."
"When a straight teacher happily announces that she and her husband are expecting a baby to her elementary class, is she saying something inappropriate to very young and impressionable students?" Bailey said in a recent statement.
"Is she announcing her sexual orientation? Is she presenting her life in a way that promotes her political beliefs?" Bailey continued. "Of course not. She's simply sharing facts about her life."
In 2018, Bailey filed a discrimination lawsuit against MISD claiming discrimination and a breach of her constitutional rights. Later that year, a federal judge decided the lawsuit could go ahead.
"If the community's perception is based on nothing more than unsupported assumptions, outdated stereotypes, and animosity, it is necessarily irrational and […] provides no legitimate support for Mansfield ISD's decisions," wrote Judge Sam Lindsay. "The private antipathy of some members of a community cannot validate state discrimination."
Eight months after her suspension, Bailey was reinstated by the district and reassigned to a local high school.
Stacy Bailey, Mansfield ISD announce settlement in discrimination lawsuit https://t.co/Ww3usHHcmW pic.twitter.com/BHhi0RigNZ
— Dallas Voice (@DallasVoice) February 25, 2020
On Tuesday, Bailey's attorney announced they had reached a settlement with the school district.
MISDA agreed to pay Bailey and her attorney $100,000 of which Bailey will donate $10,000 to a charity helping LGBT youth. Her attorney, Jason Smith, has agreed to donate $10,000 from her settlement to the Human Rights Campaign.
"If you are a school district that thinks you can bully a gay teacher out of their job, I hope you remember my name and I hope you think twice," said Bailey during a press conference on Tuesday.
After all of the drama with the school district over her sexuality, Bailey was a little scared to start her new job at the high school, but her fears were quickly assuaged when 15 LGBT students greeted her in her new classroom with baskets and candy.
.@mansfieldisd parents, students who support art teacher, Stacy Bailey #LGBTQ #LGBT pic.twitter.com/0azoNOhXQ3
— Diane Smith (@dianeasmith1) March 28, 2018
"I don't think they'd ever seen a teacher out loud say they were gay. To see a grown-up who was successful and educated and not afraid? I don't think they had ever seen that before," Bailey told BuzzFeed News.
"I've seen my classroom turn into a safe space for all kinds of kids who feel marginalized," she continued.
On the first day with her new class, she showed the same exact slideshow presentation, but this time the woman in the picture with her was her wife.