After penalizing gay teacher, Mansfield ISD awards her $100,000, plans vote to ban sexual orientation discrimination

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After penalizing gay teacher, Mansfield ISD awards her $100,000, plans vote to ban sexual orientation discrimination” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

Arlington art teacher Stacy Bailey was placed on administrative leave in August 2017 after showing her students a picture of her soon-to-be wife. On Monday, Mansfield ISD awarded Bailey $100,000 after a federal judge ruled her suspension was unconstitutional.

As part of the settlement, the school district agreed to provide mandatory training to human resources and counseling staff on LGBTQ issues in schools, and to require the Mansfield ISD board of trustees to vote on whether to add protections for sexual orientation into its policies, according to a representative for Bailey.

The school district will also withdraw the “administrative leave” designation from the eight-month period that Bailey was suspended and provide her with a letter of recommendation.

Before her suspension, Bailey had worked at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School for a decade and was named teacher of the year twice. When a parent complained that she was “promoting the homosexual agenda” by showing students a picture of her partner, Julie Vazquez, Bailey was abruptly placed on leave.

Because Texas has no law that explicitly protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation — only that based on sex, race, religion and disability — Bailey was forced to seek relief through the federal court system. After two years of litigation, Judge Sam Lindsay of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas ruled in her favor in October of last year.

“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.

Bailey and her now-wife will donate $10,000 to “a non-profit addressing LGBTQ student issues,” according to the statement. Jason Smith, Bailey’s attorney, will donate $10,000 to the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ advocacy group in the country.

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