Fifth-Grader with Two Moms Falls, Gets Injured, and Nobody Makes a Sound

GAY MOMS:

We just wrote you a post celebrating gay moms in honor of Mother’s Day, but apparently not everyone feels the same way. Jenna Bissell is a fifth-grader who fell on the playground during recess and sustained a bloody injury to the face; but when she reported it to her teacher, she wasn’t given any medical attention and her two mothers weren’t notified. They were, understandably, shocked, and called the teacher to ask why they hadn’t been told their daughter was hurt.

“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.”

It’s not the first time we’ve heard about schools who don’t like their students’ gay moms, but Jenna Bissell’s school is public, not religiously affiliated. And while it would be nice to think so, it doesn’t seem like this incident was a fluke: “[Bissell’s mom] 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.'” It’s chilling to imagine what would happen in this school if a child actually openly identified as gay – and chilling to think that this school receives federal funding. (@queerty)

Bissell attends the Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Rio Rancho, New Mexico; the phone number is 505-892-2575, and the principal is Marilee Bryant. Feel free to contact them and let them know how this makes you feel.

CAMPING:

Gays can marry in Iowa, but maybe not go camping. State Senator Merlin Bartz wants to stop a proposed change of wording that would allow “spouses” to rent extra tents for their children, and not just “husbands and wives.” (@care2)

GAY PASTOR:

A Lutheran pastor who was removed years ago for a relationship with another man has been reinstated. He was removed in 2007 and is now serving in Atlanta, GA. (@eontarionow)

DADT:

If you’re keeping track of the ways in which DADT hurts gay servicemembers and our country, add this to the list. Sarah Isaacson enrolled in ROTC before realizing she was gay; she told her commanding officer as soon as she knew herself, and was told that she owes the government $79,265.14 for the tuition they paid for her. Seems like kind of a lose-lose, no? (@queerty)

NEWSWEEK:

Autostraddle and Kristen Chenoweth have already told you how they feel about Ramin Setoodeh’s homophobic Newsweek article, and now out gay actor David Dean Bottrell throws his hat into the ring: “I kept asking myself, “Is this guy joking? Speaking as an openly out professional actor, I can assure you that there are a great many gay and lesbian actors who have spent pretty much their entire careers playing “straight.” Trust me. If they weren’t convincing, they wouldn’t still be working.” (@huffpo)

LITHUANIA:

About 500 people marched in Lithuania’s first ever gay pride parade, while the police held back about 1,000 protestors. “Opinion polls have shown that more than two-thirds of Lithuanians are opposed to the gay pride event in the ex-Soviet republic of 3.4 million people, where the Roman Catholic church, which regards homosexuality as a grave sin, has a dominant role.” (@reuters)

PHILIPPINES:

The Philippines has just had accredited the first-ever gay political party. Ang Ladlad means “Out of the Closet,” and its platform is as follows: “1. Support of an Anti-Discrimination Bill that would criminalize discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. 2. Support for LGBT and LGBT-friendly businesses 3. Setting up microfinance projects for poor and disabled LGBT Filipinos 4. Setting up counseling and legal aid centers for poor and aged LGBT 5. Support the repeal of the Anti-Vagrancy laws.” Same-sex marriage is not part of their campaign. (@examiner)


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internrachel

Rachel is Autostraddle's Managing Editor and the editor who presides over news & politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.

34 Comments

  1. Hi Rachel –

    I noticed you mentioned my HuffPo piece on Setoodeh’s crappy Newsweek article in your lead in, but I didn’t see anything in your post about it. Here’s the link..
    articlehttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-dean-bottrell/getting-it-straight_b_568990.html Also your readers are welcome to let Newsweek what they think! Letters@Newsweek.com Thanks very much! Keep up the great work on this site!

  2. I went camping in Clear Lake, IA with my girlfriend and kids and a couple of lezzy friends and their kid. People stared at us all weekend and we heard a guy tell his girlfriend not to walk past our tents alone at night. Changing the camping regs are the least of their problems.

  3. I camp a lot out here in the IA (with some very obvious lady friends, if you know what i’m sayin’, oh yeah. oh. yeah.), and I’ve never had a problem, but I’m inside the liberal bubble, which Clear Lake is TOTALLY not lucky enough to be inside.

    Also, tent rentals? What? I don’t even… who?

  4. My girlfriend got a gay bumper sticker ripped off her car in the middle of the night while we were camping. Unnerving to think that only a thin piece of canvas is between me and a bunch of homophobes, with no cell signal and the closest authorities are the sheriffs of a town with pop. 700 that’s 15 miles away. Shudder.

    • It’s like the plot of a terrible horror movie isnt it!

      I dont get people though, isnt life too short to give a fuck about who a person fancies, biogtry is very 1800’s, in fact it was even old fashioned then. I hope people contact that pricipal and tell her what they think about that bitch of a teacher aswell. Anyway, there was a small protest outside the Lithuanian embassy here on Sat which the Lithuanians did not expect, it’s nice to see people showing a bit of support for fellow gays they dont even know and will never meet, it shows a sense of community that I had thought was missing in these parts, not sure about the rest of the world but it’s encouraging that some gays at least try and stick up for each other.

  5. Sadly, the third-party investigator found nothing and Jenna has since switched schools over this incident.

    http://bit.ly/aRLF2U

    The teacher is still employed by the elementary school and they won’t say if any disciplinary action has been taken, citing personnel privacy. It looks like the next step will be the ACLU.

  6. The teacher takes out her bigotry on an injured child? What kind of person can even do that? Hell, what kind of person can even practice bigotry? I’ve never understood how anyone could possibly hate another person simply because they are different in religion, sexuality, ethnicity, etc. Fuck, this is horrible.

  7. Hi! I’m a member of Ang Ladlad and I don’t think we’re winning the elections, which happened yesterday. We were the last to be approved as a partylist by the commission on elections and it’s been a whirlwind roller coaster campaign for only barely 2 months. Still, it was an amazing part of our history and we hope to be more well-equipped by next elections, which is 3 years from now.

    Same-sex marriage is not yet part of the campaign for many reasons. One is that we can’t even pass a bill for non-discrimination. The climate and culture here in the Philippines isn’t where the US is at yet. I would say we are where US was back in the 60s in terms of the LGBT movement and acceptance. Although in concept, we’re for same-sex marriage, the culture just isn’t ready yet for that and it may spoil the rest of the advocacies of the movement. Besides, the Catholic church here is like the government.

    If you’d like to know more about Ang Ladlad, please visit http://www.AngLadlad.org

    Thanks!

  8. We have a mantra in the education sector here in the UK: “Every Child Matters”. How thoroughly depressing to see that isn’t the case when bigots are hired as teachers.

  9. What’s next, letting a kid bleed to death for wearing white after labor day? I am sick of having my jaw drop at stories like Jenna’s. Now I want to make custom healing stickies for her that say “Band-Aids don’t discriminate, b*tch!”

    btw, I was the kid that always seemed to fall on the blacktop whenever mom bought me a new pair of pants…from busting up my last pair from falling.

  10. The reader needs to find the different new reports – Albuquerque Journal, KRQE KKOB – where it initially states she tripped while skipping on the playground. Then she was running and tripped over her pant leg and the male teacher who observed it told her if she did it again she would be written up. Now she was pushed down by a bully and the male teacher threatened to write Jenna up for her part in it. Amazing how much more it has grown!
    Mom says she fell at the afternoon recess and then sat in class for over three hours. Afternoon recess ends at 2:30 for MLK 5th graders. School is out at 4. Basic math skills are questionable – maybe that is why mom stopped homeschooling.
    These are the same parents who were on the news in the fall because they could not abide leaving their children in the school due to the H1N1 virus. They had transferred them to MLK from RRES. They took them out for H1N1 then they brought them back to MLK again. Now this is going on and they have returned to RRES. Go figure.
    The article states that the teacher tore the writing by the child about her mothers’ wedding out of her journal and told her she could not use that in her personal narrative. Interesting they have a picture of the journals they used in class. Does that mean the teacher DID NOT tear it out? Or perhaps they photographed it with an intention to set that up for a legal argument later.
    As a mother, I am appalled that these women would set their child up to run this crucible of public opinion. These are publicity whores looking for a quick buck on the back of this child. I hope that if the injuries are founded in truth (which I doubt) and she receives any funds, all funds be locked in a trust FOR HER and not for the “mothers” who are taking such “good care” of her.

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