The father of two students at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School in Arlington, Texas, has addressed the school district’s board of trustees, defending himself after his complaint about a lesbian teacher got her banned from teaching at the school.
In September 2017, Paul Holding, who has two daughters at the school, filed a complaint to Mansfield Independent School District officials saying their teacher, Stacy Bailey, was pushing a “homosexual agenda” by showing students a photo of herself with her wife dressed as Nemo and Dory from the Disney movie, “Finding Nemo.”
“She told her students to not think it is gross for same-sex couples to be together,” Holding complained. “She told my daughters they could marry any type of person just like her.”
Bailey had been employed at Anderson Elementary for 10 years and twice been named Teacher of the Year. She was placed on administrative leave for nearly the entire 2017-2018 school year as a result of Holding’s complaint against her.
“The District’s concern is that Ms. Bailey insists that it is her right and that it is age appropriate for her to have ongoing discussion with elementary-aged students about her own sexual orientation, the sexual orientation of artists, and their relationships with other gay artists,” the district said in a statement last fall, adding that she “refused to follow administration’s directions regarding age-appropriate conversations with students.”
Bailey has since been barred from working at Anderson Elementary and reassigned to work at Mansfield’s Lake Ridge High School where will she teach art to 9th through 12th grade students.
On August 28, Holding addressed the district’s board of trustees meeting where he reiterated his concerns about teachers who share personal details of their lives with their elementary school students.
“We do not care about any teacher’s politics,” Holding said in his comments to trustees. “We do not care about a teacher’s religion or lack of religion. We don’t even care about a teacher’s sexuality. What teachers choose to do on their own time is of no concern to us. The only thing we care about is that when teachers walk into the classroom, is that they project professionalism.”
“When it comes to our pre-pubescent children, with no knowledge of sexuality, we demand that teachers exercise discretion. We feel strongly that with our younger kids, it is not appropriate to discuss sexuality without a parent’s written permission,” Holding added.
“Stacy Bailey merely showed a photo of her now wife,” Jason Smith, Bailey’s attorney, told the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. “She was not promoting an ideology, just merely discussing her family just like other teachers do all the time without being suspended.”
Bailey has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit arguing the district violated the U.S. Constitution and the Texas Constitution by treating her differently than it would have treated a straight teacher.