HERCULES, Calif. — A transgender teenager who says she has been repeatedly bullied by other students at a California high school is now facing a criminal charge for defending herself during a confrontation.
Jewlyes Gutierrez, a 16-year-old sophomore at Hercules High School, was charged on Nov. 25 for a school fight that was captured on camera. Jewlyes said the girls in the incident had taunted, harassed and bullied her about her gender identity prior to the Nov. 13 incident.
Jewlyes and other three students involved in the fight were suspended and later apologized to each other, and since the incident, there has been no further harassment. But prosecutors would not explain why Jewlyes was charged after she was punished by the school district.
Hercules police said Jewlyes started the fight by throwing the first punch, but Jewlyes claims she was acting in self defense. No charges have been filed against the other three girls.
The DA’s office has not commented on the charges, but West Contra Costa School Board president Charles Ramsey says the case is not ”something that should rise the level of where it has to go to the District Attorney’s office for prosecution.”