Monday, January 13, 2014
Drop Charges Against Transgender Teen Defending Herself
Drop charges against transgender teen defending herself!
By Valerie Poquiz
My sister, Jewlyes Gutierrez, is a 16 year old teenager, who identifies as a transgender female.
Her gender identity has caused her to be a victim of taunting, harassment, and bullying by her peers. On
November 13, 2013, Jewlyes defended herself against three girls who were tormenting and then physically attacked her. This was captured on video and you can see Jewlyes trying to run away. The students involved were suspended but to our disbelief, District Attorney Daniel Cabral then filed charges against Jewlyes for battery - she's the only one charged.
Jewlyes should not be charged criminally. Rather, this altercation should be the responsibility of the school district, who should take proper action and implement the necessary resources to prevent incidents like these from happening again.
One of the girls who attacked Jewlyes had repeated bullied her - even spitting gum in her face. Jewlyes sought help from the assistant principal in fear of her physical safety but the issue was not properly addressed, no necessary action was taken by the administration. The bullying continued.
Jewlyes attends Hercules High School in Hercules, CA - part of the Contra Costa Unified School District. Even the school district president disagrees with the charges being brought against Jewlyes: "This is just a young child who is 16-years-old, already going through a lot of stress," he said. "This is a remedy? Is this the way we want to deal with children?"
Violence towards transgender and queer youth is a serious problem. Recently in Oakland, CA, a transgender teen was lit on fire. What message is the District Attorney's Office sending when they prosecute a transgender teen who school officials labeled as the victim in this incident?
Tell District Attorney we are outraged by the decision to charge Jewlyes and that we hope he will use his discretion to allow for a restorative and educational solution rather than the court system to deal with what happened at Hercules High School.
Please tell the District Attorneys Office that we want our tax dollars spent on teaching tolerance and on conflict resolution programs in schools, not on prosecuting youth who are in need of a safe learning environment.