Galileo Church

Quirky church for spiritual refugees. Who would Jesus love?

Our missional priorities:
1. We do justice for LGBTQ+ humans.
2. We do kindness for people with mental illness and in emotional distress, and celebrate neurodiversity.
3. We do beauty for our God-Who-Is-Beautiful.
4. We do real relationship, no bullshit, ever.

Letter to Mansfield ISD

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Hosted by Galileo Church on behalf of the Mansfield Equality Coalition  

We are speaking as current and former parents and students, primarily from Charlotte Anderson, all of whom have had Stacy Bailey as a teacher either for our children or ourselves. We love our school and support its principal, teachers, and staff in all they do to give our kids a great education. We are sad, disappointed, and angry about how Mansfield ISD administration has chosen to handle the recent complaints and ensuing situation against our art teacher, and about how the disruption has caused  pain to our students, our teachers, and our school.

Ms. Bailey is an exemplary art teacher. Multiple parents with art history majors or minors have been amazed by how much art knowledge their elementary children have after a year or two under Ms. Bailey’s teaching. Parents have reported that their children are able to have intelligent conversations with college students about art. Last year, at Judy K. Miller/Charlotte Anderson Elementary’s open house, the walls were covered with student art.

We affirm that all teachers, especially in elementary school, talk about their families. This is part of getting to know students, socializing students, and existing as a human being. We affirm the right of all teachers, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, to speak about their families in this fashion. 

Second, we affirm that sometimes the personal beliefs or relationships of a historical figure are pertinent to the topic being discussed, whether through how those factors influenced a person’s work, or how one individual is connected to another. TEKS requirements for third and fourth grade art include requirements for this type of discussion.[1] We affirm that in such cases, the beliefs or relationships should be mentioned, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Thirdly, we affirm that part of a school’s purpose is to educate students about the world. We affirm that as a public school district, Mansfield ISD is not able to teach in accordance with any religious beliefs, and MISD cannot discriminate against students or faculty for holding beliefs different than those of students or families.

We have the following complaints against Mansfield ISD’s administrators and their handling of Ms. Bailey’s situation.

  1. MISD discriminated against Ms. Bailey when they told her that mentioning her future wife was “promoting a gay lifestyle”,[2] and again when they suspended her.
  2. MISD acted in discriminatory fashion based on complaints by four parents,[3] whose complaints were almost certainly based on religious reasons. Since MISD is a public school district, religious beliefs cannot be used as criteria to establish school policy.
  3. MISD suspended Ms. Bailey based on complaints of “sexually inappropriate images”[4] in one of her class slides. According to the testimony of two teachers who saw Ms. Bailey’s slides, this claim was false.
  4. MISD continued Ms. Bailey’s suspension, despite the slides that the District would have had in their possession, showing that the complaint against her had no merit.
  5. MISD failed to follow their own policies regarding complaints, which promise a timely investigation and resolution to complaints.[5] Specifically, a complaint such as this should have taken at most approximately twelve weeks to be resolved.[6]
  6. MISD failed to inform parents of the teacher’s absence. Some parents first found out through the press release on March 27. MISD still has not communicated with parents about Ms. Bailey’s absence aside from that one press release.
  7. MISD ignored the opinions of multiple Charlotte Anderson Elementary parents, as expressed at the February, March, and April regular board meetings.
  8. MISD broke their own policies by releasing information about the complaint against Ms. Bailey and did so through a press release[7] using language geared to increase prejudice against her.
  9. MISD has provided an inadequate or nonexistent art education, as shown by the complete lack of art projects going home, student comments about how little art is being done, and a complete lack of student art on display at school. This is in stark contrast to previous years, when multiple art projects went home, students spoke about what they were learning in art class, and Open House had students’ art projects covering the walls of the school.
  10. MISD has yet to notify parents about the alternate education taking place in the absence of a certified art teacher.
  11. MISD caused pain and suffering to our children by depriving them of their teacher.
  12. MISD has mistreated Ms. Bailey and caused her pain and suffering by depriving her of her work, and by depriving her of her support system by telling her to make “no contact with students, parents, or other staff members”.[8] As Ms. Bailey had been teaching at Charlotte Anderson for almost 10 years, this has a great impact.
  13. MISD has created a work environment of fear districtwide for its LGBT employees.
  14. MISD has created a school environment of fear districtwide for its LGBT students and families. They cannot trust that teachers or the district will support them. A teacher who asked whether she was allowed to stop students bullying another student because of their gay parents was told the question could not be answered at that time.[9]
  15. MISD has wasted taxpayer dollars by paying a qualified teacher and a long-term substitute for an entire year, with no valid cause for the teacher’s suspension.

We request that MISD take the following actions, thereby behaving in accordance with its claim that it does not discriminate.

  1. Reassign Ms. Bailey to Charlotte Anderson, admit that the district discriminated against her, and settle the suit with no nondisclosure agreements.
  2. Amend the anti-discrimination policies of the district (specifically FFH(LOCAL), FFI(LOCAL), and DIA(LOCAL)) to include “sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity”, thereby protecting LGBT students, families, and staff.
  3. Revise EMB(LOCAL), “Miscellaneous Instructional Policies: Teaching About Controversial Issues”, to exclude mere mention of one’s own family, religion, etc. from qualifying as “teaching controversial materials”, thereby protecting all teachers and allowing all teachers to be their full selves around their students.
  4. For parents who insist on not having their children around teachers/students with whom they disagree, offer options such as transferring their children to another school.
  5. Inform all Charlotte Anderson parents of the education that has been taking place during art class, in accordance with MISD Board Policy EF(LEGAL) “Instructional Resources.”
  6. Require that parents be notified of extended teacher absence in a timely manner, regardless of the reason, either by the teacher or a school administrator.

Signed,

  • Hannah and Luke Olsen, Charlotte Anderson Elementary parents (first grade)
  • Susan Floyd, Charlotte Anderson Elementary parent (third grade)

[1] TAC 117.111.(3) and (4); 117.114.(3) and (4). http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter117/ch117a.html 

[2] Lawsuit filed by Ms. Bailey, as found in the Star-Telegram. http://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/community/arlington/article210696904.html 

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] MISD Board Policy FNG(LOCAL), found at https://pol.tasb.org/Policy/Download/1104?filename=FNG(LOCAL).pdf 

[6] Based on assuming greatest length of time for each stage, and the complaint going through all stages outlined in FNG(LOCAL). Based on lack of action by the Board, it appears that the complaint never reached them, meaning the complaint should have been resolved long before twelve weeks had elapsed.

[7] “Mansfield ISD Statement Regarding Art Teacher,” March 27, 2018.

[8] Administrative Leave letter of Sept. 8, 2017, as found in the Dallas Morning News. https://www.dallasnews.com/news/education/2018/03/07/popular-mansfield-teacher-suspended-after-asking-lgbtq-language-misd-policy 

[9] She spoke about this during public comments at the March board meeting.

Updates can be seen at the end of the sheet....scroll down!