A 16-year-old transgender student is facing battery charges for being involved in a fist fight with 3 girls who were bullying her.
The fight between Hercules High School sophomore Jewelyes Gutierrez and the 3 girls happened on Nov. 15 and was captured on a cell phone video. None of the other teens involved were seriously hurt and the other girls involved didn’t receive any charges for the altercation.
Gutierrez says she tried to talk to school officials about how she was treated by other students, but she said she didn’t get the response she was hoping for and the bullying continued. Gutierrez told KTVU that she couldn’t take the torment from the girls anymore, so when she was confronted by them, she fought.
Public defender Kaylie Simon was surprised that her client was charged, given the circumstances.
Jewelyes identifies as transgender, and I think that she had been tormented and harassed at school because of how she identifies.
When I initially received this case, I was shocked that the district attorney’s office decided to charge Jewelyes.
I think by charging her, it sends a message to bullies that you can bully individuals, and that adults will then further victimize the person that you’ve been tormenting.
Charles Ramsey, President of the West Contra Costa School Board said that this moment should have been sorted out at the school and not “something that should rise the level of where it has to go to the District Attorney’s office for prosecution.”
Jewelyes’ sister has started an online petition to get prosecutors to drop the case. The district attorney’s office would not comment on the case because it is in juvenile court.
For more on this, please watch the video below, courtesy of KTVU.