As soon as I read the story in the New York Times I knew something didn’t smell right.
Texas Elementary Art teacher Stacy Bailey was fired because she and her partner and future (and now, current) wife dressed up as fish.
Dressed as fish must be the reason because the school district responded to a law suit saying no way was it because Stacy was Gay.
“There has never been an issue with her open sexual orientation until this year,” the district said in a statement. “That’s when her actions in the classroom changed, which prompted her students to voice concerns to their parents.”
What changed was that Stacy started the year by showing her class pictures introducing herself. It included the picture above which shows Stacy and Ms Vasquez, who is now her wife, dressed as fish.
While the district denies they are anti-Gay, they do claim the picture was “sexually inappropriate.”
I am naturally drawn to stories like this.
Stacy is an Art teacher. I was an Art teacher for 30 years. I resonate to the complexity of sexual inappropriateness in the classroom.
I remember when I had a first grade class draw copies of the Mona Lisa. One boy added breasts with nipples to his version. When I asked him what they were (Yes. I knew what they were.) he said, “Boobs.”
These are the kinds of situations that can lead to trouble when the picture makes its way home to the refrigerator door, so I directed him to cover them up. He drew over them with a thick black marker.
The whole Gay thing is another matter. One time one of my 3rd graders came up to me and said that the boy at the table had called her a lesbian.
I should explain that my general approach to handling situations in which one student reports an incident of name-calling: I don’t ask for details. That becomes a labyrinth of incomprehensible he said/she said. So my practice was to tell the alleged offender to knock it off and then send them back to separate tables. Time is short in my Art room. We only had 45 minutes once a week. I had to balance resolving personal issues (and sometimes fairness) with time dedicated to actual work, and I tended to favor work.
But this time I called them both up and asked if either knew what a lesbian was.
What was I thinking?
But neither of them had a clue as to what it meant.
So I told the boy to knock it off and sent them back to separate tables.
Which is why the board’s story that one of Stacy Bailey’s students complained about her being a lesbian is doubtful. I doubt any of them knew what a lesbian is.
It has to be the fish costume and I don’t get how that is sexually inappropriate.
I think they are adorable.