When cool teacher lets their students in on a little about their personal life, it is always a special moment. I remember the first time I ran into my art teacher outside of the classroom, it made them more human, and hopefully helped to remove the ever-adorable assumption of students that the teachers just live at school. She was a real person who also shops at Michaels. The tricky part of this sharing is that a teacher has to maintain appropriate boundaries and not everyone agrees on what they should be.
Angry parents of the students in her class said that this was an inappropriate personal detail to share with her class. They accused her of trying to push an agenda with her comments. Bailey was shocked when the school administration placed her on an eight-month administrative leave. She didn’t think she was sharing too much personal information with her students. Straight teachers have photos of themselves with their families in their classrooms. No one bats an eye when they talk about their family and pets.
Is it possible that the LGBTQ community is once again seen as sexualized? Did the parents use this as an excuse to not like this highly awarded and recognized educator? Whatever the reason for the administration’s actions, the result was the same. A blatant violation of Bailey’s rights. If teachers didn’t have enough to deal with, now they can’t talk about their families. It is a perfect cop-out for the school administration if Texas is not given the credit it is due. Bailey took it to the courts because she felt like she was being treated unfairly. And. She. Won.
Winning a court case is unlikely to take away the hurt, but it is likely to make up for it. Bailey got the school district to agree to add training related to LGBTQ+ issues and to consider creating protections for its other LGBTQIA+ teachers to prevent this sort of thing from happening again after she won the monetary damages she asked for. That isn’t a promise, but it is a start. Bailey stood up for herself even when it was difficult and harrowing. I hope the school district learns from this and treats others better in the future.
Do you know anyone who stands up for themselves in a way that motivates you? Do you stand up in the face of discrimination? Tell us about it!