Father explains why he complained to Mansfield schools about gay art teacher

The father of two Charlotte Anderson Elementary students said he complained to Mansfield school district officials last year that art teacher Stacy Bailey was indoctrinating students with a “homosexual agenda” — a concern he still carries as he urges educators to leave their personal lives outside of classrooms.

Paul Holding said he wanted to share his views while advocating for high professional standards within the district. The school is in Arlington, but is part of the Mansfield school district. He planned to speak during the open comment portion of Tuesday’s school board meeting.

“We do not care about any teacher’s politics,” Holding wrote in a statement, which he shared with the Star-Telegram and planned to read to board members. “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.”

On Aug. 23, 2017, Holding emailed the school district officials, including Superintendent Jim Vaszauskas, a complaint with the subject line: “Homosexual agenda pushed on Charlotte Anderson Students.”

Holding said his daughters, who at that time were in second and fourth grade, told him that Bailey was indoctrinating students through a slide show presentation that included “her intimate relationship with a woman.” Holding said his daughters said there were several pictures of Bailey and her girlfriend.

Holding said he plans to take his concerns to school board trustees.

“When it comes to our pre-pubescent children, with no knowledge of sexuality, we demand that teachers exercise discretion,” Holdings’ speech states. “We feel strongly that with our younger kids, it is not appropriate to discuss sexuality without a parent’s written permission.”

In his email last year, Holding wrote: “She told her students to not think it is gross for same-sex couples to be together. She told my daughters they could marry any type of person just like her.”

Bailey’s attorney, Jason Smith, said his client wasn’t doing anything different than the rest of the Mansfield school district faculty.

“Stacy Bailey merely showed a photo of her now wife,” Smith said. “She was not promoting an ideology, just merely discussing her family just like other teachers do all the time without being suspended.”

The teacher’s case drew national attention as her supporters asked Mansfield school district leaders why she is no longer teaching at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School in Arlington.

Bailey described her girlfriend as the person she was engaged to and planned to marry. Later, during the school year, Bailey and Julie Vasquez were married.

Bailey was on paid administrative leave most of the last school year. Bailey’s contract was renewed on April 23, but the district sent a letter on May 1 informing her that she had been reassigned to Lake Ridge High School. She has sued the district in federal court.

“This year Stacy is again focused on being the best art teacher she can be and showing her students the magic of art.” Smith said.

Bailey’s supporters called on school administrators to let her return to class. The case also drew supporters of the district who described Bailey as someone who was pushing a gay agenda.

The issue prompted a movement in favor of adding more protections for LGBT students and employees in Mansfield. Proponents for a stronger anti-discrimination policy want it to have language that includes sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

“Stacy values her family,” Smith said. “Stacy is pro family values and honored to support student families as a teacher. Stacy is so grateful for all the words of support from colleagues, students and their parents.”

Bill Hanna: 817-390-7698, @ fwhanna
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