FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) — Mansfield elementary school teacher, Stacy Bailey has reached a settlement in her lawsuit against the district after she was suspended for having “ongoing discussions” with students about her sexual orientation in 2017.
“The agreements the district and I made in this settlement are a positive first step in making things better for gay employees, gay students and gay families in Mansfield,” said Bailey.READ MORE: Mesquite Police Identify Officer Killed In Shooting, Vigil To Be Held Sunday
Her suspension also came after Bailey asked for strong LGBT protections for staff and students. An online petition presented to the school board at the time reached the required 1,000 signatures.
Bailey was an art teacher at Charlotte Anderson Elementary who was twice selected Teacher of the Year. During a welcome to school presentation in August of 2017, she showed a photo of her “future wife,” along with photos of her family. Bailey was accused of promoting a “homosexual agenda” and shortly after sharing the photo she was suspended for more than eight months.
In May 2018, Bailey filed suit against Mansfield I.S.D. and then Superintendent Jim Vaszauskas asserting she was discriminated against due to her sexual orientation in violation of the United States Constitution.
In October of 2019, Federal Judge Sam Lindsay ruled that the Constitution clearly protected Bailey’s right to be free from sexual orientation discrimination. “The Judge’s decision in this case sends a message to school districts all across this country: The Constitution protects gay teachers from discrimination” attorney Smith said.READ MORE: 1 Killed, 3 Injured In Arlington Car Accident
“This settlement is a win-win for Stacy and the educators and students in Mansfield I.S.D.,” said Bailey’s attorney Jason Smith.
On February 24, 2020, the Mansfield I.S.D. Board of Trustees voted to approve the settlement which provides:
Mansfield ISD agrees will withdraw the designation of “Administrative Leave” regarding Plaintiff’s eight month suspension, and agree that Plaintiff may freely represent that she has not be suspended or investigated to Districts to which she may apply for future employment.
As part of Mansfield ISD’s social/emotional health training, MISD agrees to provide mandatory training to Human Resource and Counseling staff regarding LGBTQ issues in schools, and offer optional training to be attended by administrators, educators, staff, or parents who may wish to attend such training.
Mansfield I.S.D. Board of Trustees will take a vote whether to add a prohibition of “sexual orientation” discrimination to its policies within 60 days of the end of the Supreme Court term.
Additionally, the district will provide Bailey a letter of recommendation for any future employers. It will also make a payment of $100,000 to Bailey and her attorney. She and her wife said they will donate $10,000 to a non-profit addressing LGBTQ student issues.
Her attorney will also donate $10,000 of his reduced fee to the Human Rights Campaign, America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve LGBTQ equality.
Bailey expressed her gratitude in a press release sent to CBS 11 News, thanking “Judge Lindsey for his ruling, her wife for her support, Mansfield I.S.D. President Karen Marcucci for showing leadership in her work to resolve the case, teachers and parents for showing their support, and the students of Charlotte Anderson elementary for showing Stacy so much love and light as a teacher.”MORE NEWS: No. 3 Cincinnati Claims AAC Crown, Possible Playoff Spot
Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David, said “The Human Rights Campaign was proud to stand with Ms. Bailey as she faced and then challenged discrimination head on. Justice has been served in this case, and a talented teacher has won the right to be herself in the classroom and in her workplace. No one should face retribution simply for bring themselves.”