Image: Getty

In September 2017, Dallas elementary school teacher Stacy Bailey was put on paid administrative leave for an unspecified reasons, just days after she inquired about adding LGBTQ-friendly language to her school district’s policies.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Bailey is an incredibly popular teacher at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School who won teacher of the year in 2016. In late August, Bailey wrote in an email, reviewed by Dallas News, to MISD Assistant Superintendent David Wright and other school board members about the possible inclusion of language that addresses “sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression” in their anti-discrimination policies.

Bailey claimed she was directed to Wright by MISD Associate Superintendent Kimberley Cantu; she then followed up in the first week of September with other local schools to discuss their policies, and whether or not they had gay-straight alliances for students. The following day Cantu sent her an email stating she was being put on paid administrative leave “until an investigation is completed.” The email did not state the reason for the investigation.

Bailey was told not to discuss the situation and that she was barred from her office and department. She was instructed not to make contact with students, their parents, or her co-workers. Just the same, the community has rallied around Bailey, with 40 parents and students attending a meeting in late February at the school to address her disappearance.

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As one parent told Dallas Morning news, “[Bailey] brings diversity to this classroom that is lacking in so many schools and in so many districts today. She accepts my child for who she is and she loves her for it. I’m perplexed how this person who everyone seems to adore can be kept from our children.”

For her part, Bailey has refused to comment on the story, except through a statement from her attorney Giana Ortiz, who again emphasized the teacher’s stellar track record:

“I can say, however, that her record in MISD has been exemplary,” Ortiz said via email. “She has touched many lives through her passion for teaching and for her students. I believe it is a great disservice to the children of Charlotte Anderson Elementary that they’ve been without their art teacher for the majority of this year. Stacy appreciates the community’s support.”

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MISD wouldn’t comment further on Bailey’s case, but they say their current discrimination policy is meant to include LGBTQ youth and staff, even if there is no actual language stating so. The policy currently takes a stand against harassment on the basis of “race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability or any other basis prohibited by law.”