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Friday, June 10, 2011

Same-Sex Couple Files Suit Against Rio Rancho Public Schools for Civil Rights Violations

Shannon Bissell Peterson and Jessica Bissell Peterson, a same-sex couple who were legally married in Iowa, have filed suit on behalf of themselves and their daughter who endured bullying and abuse on multiple occasions while attending fifth grade at Martin Luther King Elementary School, part of the Rio Rancho Public School District. Plaintiffs maintain that their daughter's teacher actively discriminated against her and failed to protect her from bullying as a result of her mothers' marriage and sexual orientation. 

“There is no place in our public schools for educators who discriminate against a child based upon the sexual orientation of that child's parents," say Amelia P. Nelson and Rachel Higgins, attorneys for the family. “It is outrageous that an educator paid with public funds would find it within her rights to punish and fail to protect a ten year old child based upon her personally held belief that same sex couples shouldn't marry or have children. To subject a child to this type of treatment in front of other children teaches intolerance. Given it's namesake, it is more than a little ironic that these events unfolded at Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School." 

Shannon and Jessica Bissell Peterson notified the child’s principal that their daughter was being bullied prior to her physical assault but no action was taken against the teacher or other children. Instead, the principal threatened to discipline their child. Nelson and her co-counsel, Rachel Higgins, filed a complaint in district court. The complaint requests damages for physical injuries, discrimination, and infliction of emotional distress among other counts. 

June 10, 2011 at 01:41 PM in Civil Liberties, GLBT Rights, Legal Issues, Rio Rancho | Permalink


It should be noted, that Amelia "Amie" Nelson is a member of this year's Emerge New Mexico Class.

Posted by: Angela Chavez Adkins | Jun 13, 2011 8:39:08 AM