Pressure builds in California to drop charges against bullied trans teen
The president of the West Contra Costa Unified School District in California spoke up in favor of a bullied transgendered teen on Monday, saying that battery charges against 16-year-old Jewelyes Gutierrez should be dropped.
According to KCBS San Francisco, board president Charles Ramsey said, “We know that incidents happen and should be addressed, but is this a priority that should be for the district attorney’s office?”
On November 15, 2012, a fight broke out at Hercules High School between Gutierrez and three other girls. The girls frequently bullied Gutierrez, according to reports, and in November, she lashed out physically.
Part of the confrontation was caught on cell phone video and subsequently, Gutierrez was hit with battery charges, the only student of the four to face criminal counts.
Gutierrez maintains that she had begged school officials to intervene prior to the November incident, but nothing was ever done.
Ramsey believes that the misdemeanor battery charges against her go too far. He told KCBS that all four students were suspended by the school and have since apologized to each other.
“There is a lot of finger pointing and blame that can go around but believe the education code and suspensions have been the appropriate response to this incident,” he said.
The National Transgender Law Center has circulated a petition on Gutierrez’ behalf asking the District Attorney in the case to dismiss the charges.
The DA’s office, however, said that the Hercules Police Department is refusing to drop the case, saying that the cell phone video taken at the scene only captured a portion of what happened.