A Texas school teacher was placed on administrative leave with pay last fall after she requested that school officials modify district policy to include LGBTQ language.
Stacy Bailey, an elementary art school teacher in Mansfield, Texas, sent an email to the district's assistant superintendent and some school board members at the start of the school year asking to "begin a conversation" that would include "sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression" in the district's policy language, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Last year, Bailey was named as "Teacher of the Year" at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School, but the popular teacher has spent the majority of this school year outside the classroom.
What's the story?
On Sept. 7, Bailey emailed counselors at another school in the district and asked if that school had a gay/straight alliance group.
"I'm currently starting dialogue with the district to update our discriminatory policy to include protection for LGBTQ students, families and teachers," Bailey's email said, according. "I'm doing some research on how/if MISD high school campuses supply support to their LGBTQ students."
She received a quick reply and was provided with information for the group and the name of its sponsor.
Bailey emailed the sponsor and stated she was working on a plan to have LGBTQ language included in the district's policy and that she would soon be meeting with district officials about the idea.
The next day, Sept. 8, Bailey received notice from the district's associate superintendent, Kimberley Cantu, that she was being placed on administrative leave with pay while the district completes an investigation.
There was no reason for the district's actions or basis for an investigation, according to documents, the Morning News reported.
Bailey was instructed to "make no contact with students, parents or other staff members," or to discuss her "administrative leave situation with others." She was also reportedly told not to access "school technology, her office or department."
Bailey's attorney said that the teacher's record " has been exemplary."
School officials have not gone on record about Bailey's leave and the disciplinary action taken against her.
The district said in a statement on Wednesday to the Morning News that it "prohibits discrimination, including harassment, against any employee on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability or any other basis prohibited by law. In other words, Mansfield ISD does not condone harassment or discrimination of any kind toward anyone."
The district has denied any discrimination against Bailey.