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School Board Could Fire Teacher over Rainbow Stickers

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school district policy prohibiting educators from “us[ing] the classroom to transmit personal beliefs regarding political to sectarian issues.”“In Irving ISD, our campuses are a safe zone for all students,” Irving Independent School District said in the statement issued in response to Stonecipher’s suspension. “To ensure that all students feel safe regardless of background or identity, the district has developed guidelines to ensure that posters, banners and stickers placed in classrooms, hallways or offices are curriculum driven and neutral in viewpoint.”At the time, Stonecipher, an English and journalism teacher who sponsors the school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance, had argued that “safe space” stickers are not inherently political, but simply signal that a teacher feels confident to have conversations with LGBTQ students who may be struggling with their identity or their sense of belonging.She also noted that there was a lot of “hurt, confusion, and ear from students who feel like the administration has a problem with them for being LGBTQ+.”Following Stonecipher’s removal from the classroom, hundreds of MacArthur High School students walked out of class to protest what they saw as discrimination directed against LGBTQ students and staff.

The students wore heart-shaped rainbow stickers on their faces and denounced what they saw as “interrogations” of students called into the principal’s office for their involvement with the school’s GSA.Now, a year later, Irving ISD officials must decide whether to fire Stonecipher, who, following her removal, was ultimately transferred to another school, where she was once again removed from the classroom earlier this month.

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