An item I posted on this blog about Stacy Bailey’s suspension from her teaching job in Arlington, Texas, provoked a fascinating exchange along some of my social media contacts.
Bailey was kicked out of the classroom after she showed her elementary school students a picture of her and now-wife. Mansfield Independent School District officials acted as they were allowed to do under Texas law, which enables them to punish an employee based on their sexual orientation.
One of my social media contacts suggested that Bailey should have known better than to show the students a picture with her same-sex significant other. Another of my social media friends said that teachers shouldn’t ever engage in such a personal matter with students.
Back and forth it went.
I come down in this manner. The only reason Bailey was suspended by Mansfield ISD is because of her sexual orientation. Had she shown the students a picture of her with her husband, there wouldn’t even be a discussion about it. No student would have said a word to Mom and Dad about it. There would be no hubbub.
This story revolves exclusively around the sexuality of a teacher who, by all accounts, does a good job of educating the children in her classroom.
It has not a thing to do with the idea of showing a picture of her with a loved one, per se. It has everything to do with the fact that her loved one happens to be of the same gender as the teacher.
That is where I hope this gets case gets argued. Bailey has filed a complaint and my hunch is that it’s going to end up in the very highest of the Texas judicial system. It well could wind its way into the federal system as well, possibly as high as the U.S. Supreme Court.
Stacy Bailey had better prepare herself to be the next big test case for the cause of Equal Protection, which is stipulated in the U.S. Constitution. Either she is entitled to the same rights of such protection as every other American — which the Supreme Court endorsed when it legalized gay marriage — or she isn’t.
My hope is that the court would affirm her rights to such protection as a U.S. citizen.
This woman’s sexual identity — and nothing else — is at the center of this dispute.