Trans Teen Charged With Battery Following Schoolyard Altercation

From The Advocate:

Jewelyes Gutierrez, a 16-year-old transgender student, has been charged with misdemeanor battery following a lunchtime fight at her high school.

BY Parker Marie Molloy
January 09 2014

Jewelyes Gutierrez, a sophomore at Hercules High School in Hercules, Calif., made national news after video of her and three female classmates surfaced following a fight at school November 15. According to Kaylie Simon, Gutierrez’s public defender, the 16-year-old had been bullied as a result of her transgender status leading up to the altercation.

“Jewelyes identifies as transgender, and I think she had been tormented and harassed at school because of how she identifies,” Simon told KTVU.

According to Gutierrez’s testimony before the school board Monday, she informed administrators about the bullying she was facing on a regular basis, but says they took no direct action prior to the physical altercation. After bullying continued, Gutierrez contends she fought back against her aggressors.

“I was just sticking up for myself,” she told NBC Bay Area. “Because you’re different, you’ll get picked on, you’ll get name calling, bullied, taunted, harassed — all those.”

While none of the individuals involved in the fight came away with serious injuries, the district attorney filed misdemeanor battery charges against only Gutierrez. All the girls involved were temporarily suspended from school.

West Contra Costa School Board President Charles Ramsey, who previously said he believes Gutierrez was the victim in the incident, disagrees with the district attorney’s charges against Gutierrez. Instead, Ramsey says the incident should have been a “teachable moment,” not “something that should rise the level of where it has to go to the district attorney’s office for prosecution.”

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