school fail

Did Jenna Bissell’s 5th Grade Teacher Let Her Bloody Injury Go Untreated Because She Has 2 Moms?

Jenna Bissell, an 11-year-old fifth grader at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, says she tripped outside on the school playground, cut open her face in a fall that left her bloody and with two loosened teeth, and was denied even a visit to the school nurse by her teacher — because, she says, she has two gay moms.

At first, even we thought this was a stretch: A grade school teacher would be that vindictive to a tween girl because she happens to have lesbian mothers? And then came this:

Shannon Peterson, one of Bissell’s mothers, said she called the school after Bissell came home injured on Feb. 26. She said she talked to Bissell’s teacher, asking why she hadn’t been notified and why the girl went without treatment. Peterson said she asked, “Is this because she has two moms?” and that the teacher replied with a raised voice that yes, this was the reason and that Peterson should take her children to another school.

District spokeswoman Kim Vesely said any teacher who discriminated against a student would be disciplined. Bissell’s former teacher is still teaching and Vesely would not say whether she has been disciplined, citing personnel privacy. Vesely also said “there are differing versions of what occurred,” but declined to give the district’s version.

Peterson said there was a pattern of tension between Bissell and her teacher, including over an assignment in which students were asked to write a book about themselves. On one page, they were asked to write about something they did over the summer, and Bissell said she wrote about her parents’ wedding in Iowa, where gay marriage is legal. “She threw out the whole page about where my moms got married and how beautiful it was,” Bissell said, referring to the teacher. “She said, ‘This is gross, this is horrible, you need to write about something else.’”

As it stands, the Bissels say they are planning a civil rights lawsuit against the school district Rio Rancho Public Schools. At the very least, they should be suing for neglect; no teacher who witnesses a student’s bloody injury, and fails to immediately arrange medical attention, has a place in the classroom.

[Albuquerque Journal; Facebook group]

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  • Mike L.

    That teacher is a monster.

  • Rashid

    Absolutely disgraceful.

    It’s remarkable how people’s differences bring out the worst in others. Homosexuality is one of humanity’s biggest lessons in that tests the acceptance of people. A lot are failing, but reform is nonetheless spreading.

  • S

    New Mexico ought to revoke the license of this “teacher”.

  • adx

    The more all sexual orientations are visible, the more of these events seem to be popping up. They must be fought tirelessly and by every legal means necessary. Indeed, as another poster pointed out, this teacher is a monster who should lose her job. She sounds, frankly, like a bastion of amoral filth. I hope this is being rigorously pursued. These idiots who cannot accept the changing times are *EXACTLY* like the racists of yesteryear, and need to be dealt with as tirelessly and harshly, the end.

  • Josh

    This makes me sick to my stomach…
    Poor kid.


    There has to be some requirement in the legal code that requires a teacher to do all they can to protect the welfare of a student in their charge. And there has to be some kind of basis of charges being brought against that vile scumbag for neglecting her duties and putting the welfare of the student in jeapordy. I hope the Parents get a hold of a skilled attorney who sues every organization and person who can be held liable for this travesty and crimminal charges are brought against all who are liable………

  • Peter

    Hello- I am outraged at this as my mother is a teacher and I helped her in the classroom while growing up.
    This behavior is unacceptable!
    MLK Jr. Elementary School
    Principal= Marilee Bryant
    contact (505)892-2575

  • Steve

    This is 1000X times worse than the Constance prom controversy and I hope it generates 1000X the amount of attention and outrage. Unlike some other stories that get posted here, this one has no alternate benign explanation. As Queerty says, in the best case it is negligence.

    I bet $100 that this teacher turns out to be a Christian and that she views leaving a injured child to develop infected wounds as an act of Christian love.

  • thedarkchariot

    Just pointing out the irony of the school being named after Martin Luther King Jr.

    This is horrifying.

  • Olga

    AWFUL!!!! teacher has no soul!

  • Millhouse

    Aargh..I once lived in Rio Rancho, and it’s filled with right-wing nutcases. Take them to court and sue their asses, it’s the only thing these people understand.


    @Steve: 100% Co-sign. Isn’t it ironic? The rightwing lunatics are so vocal about “protecting” and “concerned” about the well being of “unborn children” in the womb. Guess that all expires at birth………………..

  • jeffree

    The teacher failed in her duty to care for a child in her custody. Period.

    Regardless of Miss Bigot’s views of the kids parents, she had a student who needed some first aid & whose parent(s) should have been contacted about the injury.

    Without all the facts it’s tough 2 know what the school did or didnt do, but some apology, review/ update of proceedures & disciplinary action should of been no-brainers.

    Hard not to wonder if the teacher/ principal ever *actually read* any of MLKs speeches or about his message.

    Disgusting display of bigotry & callous regard for a hurt child.


    The next time someone decides to go on some empty, martyr’d diatribe about how lesbians are *so* much more accepted by straight society than gay men, I hope they remember stories like this and shut up.

  • GlasgowTallBoy

    This was a hate crime – plain and simple.

    The “teacher” concerned is lucky that we live in America. She deserves to be taken out back and publicly bullwhipped.

    We will doubtless soon hear that this “teacher” was a “cultural conservative” or a fundamentalist Christian. There are those who call themselves Christians but who in fact do not worship God – instead, they worship the Bible, taking its prescriptions and proscriptions completely out of their context (this book was written 2,000 years ago, and contains passages that exhort slaves to tremble before their masters, as well as passages prohibiting people from wearing clothing made out of two different fibers). This “teacher” had a duty of care to the children in her classroom – to ALL of those children, regardless of whether they have two fathers, two mothers, one of each, or neither of each. To leave a little girl with untreated injuries and in pain because the teacher is so bigoted and filled with hatred was an act of appalling cruelty, for which that teacher has brought shame and embarrassment both to her school and to her profession.

    At an absolute minimum, she should be stripped of her license to teach and should be expelled from the school without further delay.

    If ever proof were needed that gay persons still suffer appalling acts of discrimination at the hands of heterosexuals, this incident provides that proof in spades.

    It is my sincere hope that the lawsuit filed against the Rio Rancho Public Schools school district, and that they prevail. Only a monetary award of substantial damages can begin to redress this injustice and deter other school officials around the country from engaging in similar homophobic behaviour.


  • Lanjier

    A christian conservative, no doubt.

    I hope people are finally starting to wake up that people attracted to christian conservatism and other hate religions are really doing so to mask a general hatred for people, masking their hate an anger with this biblical bullshit.

  • unclemike

    As a teacher myself, this leaves me feeling likr I’ve been punched in my stomach.

    I’ve never met one, personally, but there are some teachers who should be kept far away from children. This is absolutely sick.

  • That Bitch Téa Delgado

    I’m a teacher, too, and this horrifies me. Yes, the teacher is bound by law to protect and care for the child in his/her care and what this teacher did is thoroughly reprehensible.

    I, myself, have unfortunately run into bigotry from another teacher (using the word “faggot” in front of students) and I reported him to administration; he was given a warning and I’ve not observed it to happen again.

    Conversely, another teacher, who is a baseball coach, married, conservative and a U.S. history teacher, surprised me when, during a study of the Civil Rights movements from the ’50s to the ’70s, assigned students various topics to research, and one of them was Harvey Milk…and the gay rights movement is not on the state’s history curriculum (nor is it even mentioned in the history textbook). For him to take that extra step to include a gay rights activist/politician was immensely satisfying.

    As another poster above-thread pointed out, I hope this story gets as much if not more play than the Constance McMillen story; this, to me, is far worse and requires action.

  • Hilarious

    This is absolutely disgusting.

    No matter what her idiotic views on sexuality are she purposely denied a child medical attention for serious wounds.

    What the hell is wrong with her? What a monster. I hope she gets sued personally and loses everything.

    I seriously hope people protest outside of this school until action takes place and that freak is fired from her position. This is far more important than chasing irate church folk around.

    Gay, Bi, or Straight this needs to be taken care of. That’s an issue for everyone a teacher that would harm a child needs to go and be run straight out of town. It’s both physical and mental abuse and who knows how long she’s been mentally abusing this poor girl about her parents.

    I’m so mad I could scream right now.

  • Hyhybt

    How do you go about proving something like this happened?

  • Anna

    Eye witnesses at the school.

  • Hyhybt


    It’s just that, *without* witnesses, it does sometimes happen that people make things up. I’m not saying that’s what happened! Only remembering that it’s a possibility and, while if the accusations are true then the teacher needs to be removed, you don’t want to ruin someone’s career on a falsehood.

  • Jose

    I don’t see how it’s possible that the mom didn’t immediately hang up the phone, drive over to the school, and knock that bitch out.

  • AJ

    I am a teacher, out mostly but still in the closet at work, and this is exactly why. We are at this point in time where coming out is so important, because it puts human faces on the “scary homos” that haters want to oppose. On the other hand, the day my kid came home bloody and was refused treatment because of the person I am dating would send me through the roof.

    If this teacher isn’t removed, there is something seriously wrong. IF that is the case, we are a heck of a lot further from equality than the rainbow community thinks. The classroom absolutely should be a place of respect and dignity.

    In my little city, homophobia is rampant. Two hours away in the metro all is fine and good. The problem is that lots of us don’t live in the metro. And out here, kids can end up as collateral damage.

  • GlasgowTallBoy

    AJ – You have touched on one of the most serious issues facing the gay community in the US. Study after study has demonstrated, unequivocally, that those Americans who claim to know one or more gay people at a personal level (as friends, co-workers, family members, etc.) are much, much less likely to harbour bigoted and homophobic attitudes than are those Americans who claim not to know any gay people at a personal level (although they almost certainly do know gay people, without being aware of the fact that they are gay). This confirms what many activists for gay equality have long asserted – the closet is the most powerful weapon in the arsenal of homophobes, and coming out of the closet is without doubt the most powerful political act that a gay person can perform. Simply by being open and honest about one’s sexual orientation, one can change the hearts and minds of even the most rabid homophobes.

    In the mid-1990s, I worked on a consulting project together with an extreme right-wing social conservative. I was open about my sexual orientation, without ramming it down his throat. It took some time, but my colleague eventually became friendly and pleasant towards me, and admitted that some of his preconceptions had been grossly incorrect. I worked with another (Muslim) colleague on a consulting assignment in 2006, in Los Angeles, and this consultant kept trying to fit me up with women to date. When I politely refused for the nth time, he asked (jokingly) “What’s the matter, are you gay or something?” I answered that I was indeed gay. There was a pause on the telephone, and he found a polite way to end the call. The next day, he apologized for having made the assumption that I was heterosexual, but was obviously perturbed. However, over the course of the next few weeks, he became completely accepting, and opined that homosexuality “had to be” genetic (or otherwise rooted in biology). He and I are now good friends.

    I had a similar experience with an Italian colleague in New York. We were both supervisors, managing a team of consultants on a Y2K project for an investment banking institution. Over drinks, I told him that I was gay. He responded with surprise, but made no unpleasant comments. Over the course of the next few weeks, we became better friends than we had ever been before. All he needed was to interact with, and spend time with, an openly gay man to see that we are not monsters, pedophiles, or perverts.

    Sadly, there are exceptions. When I was in college in South Africa, I became very close friends with a geophysics student (who I will refer to as BCR). We both lived in the same dormitory, and managed each year to ensure that we always ended up in rooms that were close to each other, in the same wing of the residence hall. I was too frightened, at that point in my development, to tell him that I was gay – I was struggling to come to terms with my sexual orientation, and had not even acknowledged to myself that I was gay. However, BCR slowly figured out that I was gay, without ever telling me that he knew. When we graduated, we went our separate ways (I moved to the US about eight months after graduating) – and then, three years later, I received a telephone call from him, informing me that he was coming to the US to visit me and to go on a month-long road trip around the US with me. I was absolutely thrilled, because I was very close to him, despite not having told him, expressly, that I was gay.

    He spent that month treating me like the lowest form of slime. I remember that month as being the most painful and unpleasant period of time I had ever experienced. He mocked me; he told me that he knew what was “wrong” with me (without ever coming out and using the word); he belittled and attacked me; and he left me shattered and in great pain. It took me many years to get over it. In retrospect, I now realize that he was displaying the classic defense mechanisms of “reaction formation” and “projection”, because he could not reconcile the fact that we had been incredibly close with his loathing of homosexuals.

    Coming out is not always pleasant. However, that experience was the single exception I have encountered with respect to this issue. In every other case, the person who I told about myself became much closer to me, making up for that one experience – and then some.

    The homophobes and Christian fundamentalists know this, which is why they are so bitterly opposed to programs to help young people who are struggling to come to terms with their sexual orientation, and why the keep opposing the formation of “Gay / Straight Alliances” (GSAs), hundreds and hundreds of which have sprung up over the course of the past 15 years. An extremist right-wing group named “MassResistance” (at recently sent me an email (I subscribe to right-wing groups, so as to keep abreast of what the bastards are doing) containing the following hysterical outcry:


    “It’s unbelievable. Millions of taxpayer dollars could be made available to hardcore homosexual activists for the purpose of pushing homosexual and transgender programs in the state’s public schools as part of the 2011 state budget crafted and passed by the Massachusetts House of Representatives last week! That budget now goes to the Senate for approval.

    This would allow the homosexual lobby access to an enormous stream of money to fund their programs such as gay-straight alliance clubs, gay/transgender appreciation days, the Day of Silence, Youth Pride events, homosexual-themed library books, gay assemblies, off-campus homosexual events, and many other activities — in the full kindergarten-12th grade spectrum.

    It’s every parent’s nightmare, especially at this time when taxes are being raised and thousands of government workers are being laid off.”


    This demonstrates just how afraid these people are of “coming out” and the transformations of human behaviour that often flow from such honesty in self-identification. They will do anything to stop gay men and lesbians from being seen to lead normal lives, even complaining about TV shows which depict us in a positive light.

    It is for this reason that I consider it to be the most solemn duty of every gay person who is not financially dependent on parents to “come out” and to be open about their sexual orientation. Such honesty transforms hearts and minds, and turns hostile and indifferent people into our closet and most ardent defenders.


  • Cam

    What is this bullshit of “If a teacher discriminates against a child they should be diciplined” Please, if this teacher let threw out a page from a note book and refused medical treament because of the childs gender or race they wouldn’t dicipline them, they would fire them. If these alagations are true, then the teacher needs to be fired. This isn’t the catholic church where they just move abusers to another location.

    The complete irony is that this happened at MLK Elementary. He spoke about people living together and this teacher is basically crapping all over that sentiment.

  • Cooterdog

    I am sure the Teacher was just mad because she was never invited over to the Vagitarian’s house to join in!!!

  • GayGOP

    As a conservative and a Christian, I am utterly heartsick about this incident. This is not, in any way, shape, or form, what Christ intended for us to do. Even when we disagree, love, in the form of respect for human dignity, is supposed to inform our actions. I pity this teacher, too blinded by hate to remember the commandments left to us by Christ.

    As a gay man, I am outraged. This teacher needs to be fired. What she did was unacceptable, regardless of who the child’s parents were. She left an injured child to develop infections. That should be, and my educated guess would be is, a crime.

  • S


    Most of the people who identify themselves as “pro life” are merely “pro birth”.

  • loo

    why aren’t these moms suing???
    i don’t get it… i wouldn’t knock the idiot teacher out – i’d ruin the idiot teacher’s life! at least her so-called professional life. seriously, these moms need to sue. put that school and the ignorant teacher they chose to hire in their place.

  • Neil

    These woman are pathetic, all they are looking for is a payday. All you parents that have kids in this school should realize that your children are being deprived of a good education through this whole ordeal all because of two selfish women who think that their rights of being lesbians should be taken seriously. I hope Rio Rancho Schools counter sues them and makes an example out of them. GOD MADE ADAM AND EVE NOT ADAM AND STEVE.

  • Neil

    It is sad that I have to keep my child home so these irresponsible people protest something that there is NO evidence that any discrimination took place. All you protesters go back to your trees and leave the children out of it. There is not a single report about a child discrimination or at least one that is true, so why bring your BS to the front of their faces when all they want to do is learn their ABC’s, if you show up to protest you are pathetic in every way.

  • James

    @Neil: Neil, it’s sad that you have to keep your child home because all the other kids make fun of his redneck buck teeth & “dinosaurs are a lie” backpack.
    You accomplish nothing in trolling. If you’re so against GLBT rights, then maybe yoyu shouldn’t be on a GLBT website, you dumb hillbilly homophobe.

  • Neil

    HAHA James you got Butt Hurt. NO PUN INTENDED

  • Neil

    It’s so typical of someone like you just start trying to put someone down. Man you are so much of a bigger person than that teacher that you are so mad at because she supposedly didn’t let the child go to the doctor. You are such a good role model for everyone that believes in the same thing you do. Everyone else should be just so proud of you because you can make fun of a Child, when this whole thing is about a child. CAN YOU SAY HYPOCRITE

  • James

    @Neil: It’s typcial of someone like you to continue to make no sense. I wouldn’t want any child of your around other children. It’s people like you who are making new generations bigoted pricks.
    Your “butthurt” pun makes no sense as well since I am straight & also you were the one bitching on a website in the first place about an article that you don’t agree with because it forgot to mention NASCAR. So, you’re “butthurt” as well. & this article isn’t just about a child; it’s about the teacher & the parents as well. Besides, it’s one thing to make fun of a child because she was INJURED & not taken care of because the teacher is a bitch & another to make fun of a child because their father is a narrow minded hillbilly.

  • James

    @Neil: & you should probably learn the difference between sarcasm & anger since I’m calm & only angry about what happened to the girl. So, would like to continue to argue with me over the internet or would you like to get back to arguing with the other people you probably try to provoke on other web sites? I’m sure one of them will care enough to fulfill your need for confrontation & to be noticed.

  • Hyhybt

    So, neil: not treating a child’s injuries is fine, so long as the child’s parents are lesbians? Even were being lesbian a bad thing, it’s hardly the child’s fault!

  • rrpsmom2010

    NO it is not one thing to make fun of a child for one reason or another. It’s not right to make fun of ANY child. It’s not right for you to condemn his child because of your feelings for his father. You are no better than the issue you are defending. Nobody has brought up buck-toothed kids and NASCAR but you. You are an ignorant person. I’m not seeing anything in your comments that don’t say your not needing the confrontation as well. And did you WATCH the news article? It’s ridiculous. The girl is obviously coached? And did you research the family? Obviously not, this family has been in the news before. Apparently they feel the need to get more media attention, and money from an already destitute school system. The only discrimination happening at this school now is to the kids that are still attending. They are being discriminated against by your GLBT folks. My kids not at school today because of the GLBT radicals parading around the school. He’s not there because of them and the other ignorant people that they attract. If you don’t see that, then I don’t want any child around a child of yours.

  • rrpsmom2010


    If your so against peoples opinion then maybe you shouldn’t be on this site either! You’re a disgrace to your cause. You’re making fun of a child that you don’t even know. Neil never insulted the kid. He insulted the parents. They are old enough to have their own “feelings” on relationships, their daughter is not, and shouldn’t have been named or viewed. You disgust me. Go back into whatever hole you crawled out of and continue to CALMLY post on your sites. I’m angry at you for your ignorance and fake attitude. At least Neil says what he means. You are just an ignorant instigator!

  • ...DUDE...


  • philipcfromnyc

    What did you expect an investigator hired by the school district to state? What did you think an investigator hired by the very district under investigation to conclude?

    How about an investigator hired by the parents of this young girl? What do you think he or she would conclude?


  • MB


    The school district hired an independent investigator to determine the school’s *liability.*

    A licensed independent investigator is accountable to *a court of law.*

    It is to the school’s distinct *advantage* to uncover any wrong doing and deal with it promptly and appropriately.

    To fire or discipline a teacher wrongly creates as much a liability for the school as does *not* firing or disciplining a teacher appropriately.

  • Khaliah


    My fellow Brother in Christ, thanks for your response. You worded your outrage in a far more dignified and eloquent way than I could have, methinks.

    As I read this article, a little dialogue came to mind:

    Jesus: “The greatest commandments are these: Love your God and Love your Neighbor as yourself.”


    Jesus: *facepalm*

  • Jenna's Family

    1. We are suing. The suit will be filed next week.
    2. The so called “independent investigation” results have not been produced to the family, nor was the family or Jenna talked to during this investigation. Medical records were also not obtained. Not so independent is it???

    To show support for Jenna and to follow the case please see the facebook site below. Thank you!!/pages/Help-support-11-year-old-Jenna-who-was-neglected-because-she-has-2-moms/118992854789131?v=wall&ref=sgm

  • Tiffany DeBias

    It seems fairly obvious that the majority of people here have no interest in separating fact from fiction to learn the truth. They’ve already decided what they want to believe.

    In an ironically twisted way, the people supporting these claims essentially WANT this child to have been neglected, to validate their outrage. Would it not be better if Jenna had NOT been neglected and the grandmother/mother was mistaken about the incident? One would think so. Apparently though, that possibility isn’t on the table.

    The fact that the mother has decided to use this incident (and ultimately use her daughter) as a way to support her own agenda is extremely suspect. The majority of “information” on the site is designed to evoke an emotional knee-jerk reaction to get support, and it’s working — no one is thinking critically about this.

    Additionally, all the “information” related to this incident is based off hearsay and assumptions. Even the grandmother’s first-hand account is sketchy, at best. If Jenna was hurt that badly, why didn’t she bring her to a clinic? At least that way she’d actually have proof of injury. The fact that there’s no documented proof, or even any eyewitnesses, makes these claims ring false.

    Also, is it not possible that Jenna, embarrassed about how she became injured, might not have told the whole truth about the incident? Anyone who has experience with children should know that this is a very common reaction.

    Apparently though, despite only having one-sided, unsubstantiated allegations to go on, everyone knows for a FACT that this teacher is a horrible, cruel person. I can’t count how many times people have wished evil on this teacher … all based off a claim from someone they don’t actually know. How is that just?

    Either way Jenna is a victim, however until legitimate evidence is provided, no one can be sure if she’s a victim of neglect on the teacher’s part, or simply a victim of her mother’s self-serving agenda.

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