Dallas — With her wife and attorney by her side, Stacy Bailey stood in front of a gaggle of TV news cameras near the Earle Cabell Federal Courthouse in downtown Dallas.
Her attorney, Jason Smith, and Bailey's wife, Julie Vasquez, spoke on her behalf, outlining why Bailey filed a federal lawsuit against Mansfield ISD, where she has taught for ten years.
According to the lawsuit, Bailey believes the school district put her on paid administrative leave, then offered to transfer her to a secondary school, because she is gay.
"Stacy Bailey wants Mansfield to admit what they did was wrong," said Smith.
According to the lawsuit, the two-time teacher of the year has been on paid administrative leave since September, after parents complained she was pushing a "homosexual agenda."
Parents complained after she introduced herself to her class, with a slideshow of her friends and family, including a picture with her wife, who was then her fiancé, according to the lawsuit. She was put on leave after she mentioned a male artist who had a male partner, said the suit.
"We've been in disbelief, we've been shocked, we've been hurt deeply," said Vasquez.
"She was treated differently than heterosexual couples who show their significant others," said Smith.
"Mrs. Bailey has been a teacher with Mansfield ISD for a decade. During her tenure with the District, there has never been an issue with her open sexual preferences until this year. That's when her actions in the classroom changed, which prompted her students to voice concerns to their parents," said a statement, in part, from Mansfield ISD.
At a board meeting last month, dozens of parents, teachers, students, and community members on both sides of the issue spoke passionately about her case.
"It is not appropriate for teachers to promote the LGBTQ agenda to elementary aged school, intermediate school, middle school or high school children," said one parent.
"She's missed and we hope that she can return to Charlotte Anderson where she belongs," said a fellow teacher at Charlotte Anderson.
The district ultimately decided to renew Bailey's contract, but she still isn't back in the classroom.
They offered to transfer her to a secondary school, but she thinks that sends the wrong message.
"It sends the message that lesbians and gays can't teach elementary students, that's why it's wrong," said Smith.
Vasquez says her wife, isn't just fighting for herself. She says, she wants to set a precedent and get add specific protections for the LGBTQ community in the school's anti-discrimination policy.
Mansfield ISD's full statement said:
"The Mansfield Independent School District categorically denies the allegations in the lawsuit filed today by Stacy Bailey. Once facts are fully known and parties deposed, we are confident this lawsuit will not warrant merit.
Mrs. Bailey has been a teacher with Mansfield ISD for a decade. During her tenure with the District, there has never been an issue with her open sexual preferences until this year. That's when her actions in the classroom changed, which prompted her students to voice concerns to their parents.
The issue at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School is whether Mrs. Bailey has followed District guidelines requiring that controversial subjects be taught in "an impartial and objective manner. Teachers shall not use the classroom to transmit personal belief regarding political or sectarian issues. The record will show through discovery in this lawsuit that Mansfield ISD is and has been an inclusive, supportive environment for LGBT staff for decades."