A Mansfield teacher who says she was discriminated against because of her sexual orientation has reached a settlement with the school district.
Part of the settlement calls for Mansfield art teacher Stacy Bailey to get a letter of recommendation and a $100,000 payment to her and her attorney. Her record also will no longer show that she was investigated and suspended because of accusations she was promoting a “homosexual agenda,” according to a statement issued on behalf of Bailey.
“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,” Bailey said in a statement.
The school board approved the settlement Monday night.
“The Mansfield ISD School Board has voted on an agreement to settle the case in question in an amicable and beneficial manner,” Donald Williams, associate superintendent of communications and marketing for the district, said in a prepared statement.
“All parties deny any wrongdoing or liability, but wish to resolve their disputes to avoid the time, expense, stress and other impacts of continuing litigation, which would interfere with the mission of educating the students of MISD.”
Bailey and her wife will donate $10,000 to a nonprofit that works to address LGBTQ student issues. Her attorney, Jason Smith, will donate $10,000 of his reduced fee to the Human Rights Campaign.
Bailey was placed on paid administrative leave for about eight months during the 2017-18 school year after a parent complained that she was “promoting the ‘homosexual agenda’” to students at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School in Arlington. In a “Get to Know Your Teacher” slide show from 2017, Bailey showed pictures to her students of her dog, parents, friends and her then-fiancee, now wife, Julie Vasquez.
Bailey’s supporters called for the Mansfield school district to let her return to her students at Charlotte Anderson. And advocates of LGBTQ rights asked the school board to rework its anti-discrimination and anti-bullying policies.
After Bailey asked school leaders to create stronger protections for LGBTQ students and employees, she was put on paid administrative leave. She also was accused of trying to indoctrinate youths.
Eventually the district renewed Bailey’s teaching contract, but moved her from an elementary school to Lake Ridge High School, where she still teaches art.
“This settlement is a win-win for Stacy and the educators and students in Mansfield ISD,” Smith said. “The Judge’s decision in this case sends a message to school districts all across this country: The Constitution protects gay teachers from discrimination.”
The settlement also calls for:
— The removal from her record of documentation of Bailey being placed on administrative leave.
— Mandatory training for human resource and counseling staff in the district about LGBTQ issues in school as well as optional training for administrators, educators, staff and parents in the district.
— The board of trustees to vote on whether to add a prohibition of “sexual orientation” discrimination to school policies within two months of the end of the current Supreme Court term this summer.
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Source: Hearld Mail