Former Berkeley High School teacher to lose teaching credentials

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Kimberly Fong/Staff
Former Berkeley High School teacher Matthew Bissell is set to lose his teaching credential after allegations of sexual assault and harassment.

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Content warning: Mentions of sexual violence and sexual harassment

Effective March 20, former Berkeley High School teacher Matthew Bissell’s teaching credential will be revoked by the California Commission on Teaching Credentialing after facing allegations of sexual assault and harassment.

Berkeley High School alumna Rachel Phillips filed the lawsuit in June 2021 alleging Bissell inappropriately touched and sexualized her from 1999 to 2003 when she was a minor. Bissell resigned from his position last year.

Phillips was unable to comment on the decision but John Winer, Phillips’s attorney, said in an email that the survivors of Bissell’s alleged behavior are thrilled that Bissell will lose his teaching credentials.

“This is a long time coming,” Winer said in the email. “However, there is still work to be done.”

Winer alleged in the email that the revocation of Bissell’s teaching credentials will impact his ability to find work in public schools but Bissell could still teach at private or parochial schools where he could come into contact with teenage girls.

He believes if additional survivors come forward, along with filing police reports, Bissell’s conduct might meet a Penal Code Statutes violation and Bissell’s alleged behavior “will finally be stopped.”

Allison Crane, the attorney representing Bissell said in an email that Bissell continues to “adamantly” deny the allegations of sexual misconduct.

Berkeley Unified School District could not be reached as of press time.

Julie Madsen is the lead schools and communities reporter. Contact at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @Julie_Madsen_.