Posted Jan 10, 2014 07:30 pm CST
A California prosecutor is taking a lot of heat for his decision to charge a bullied transgendered teen with battery.
Jewlyes Gutierrez, 16, was charged with battery after a fight with classmates in November at Hercules High School in Contra Costa County, the Contra Costa Times reports.
Gutierrez, who says she was only defending herself after enduring days of bullying and taunting by classmates, doesn’t believe she did anything wrong.
“I was getting picked on and bullied, and it doesn’t seem right that I’m getting charged for anything,” she told the newspaper. “If anything, it seems pretty messed up. I got badly injured from this incident because there were three people against one and it really affected me. I’m still emotional about it. I don’t feel safe at school.”
Charles Ramsey, president of the West Contra Costa school district, seems to agree. He questioned why the district attorney’s office, whose resources are limited, is pursuing a matter that he thought had already been resolved. Ramsey said both students were suspended after the incident and later apologized to each other.
“People are talking about this,” he said. “It doesn’t seem to be fair. You’re prosecuting a victim here? It seems like this is really a school issue. They took care of it at the school site.”
Deputy District Attorney Daniel Cabral, who is handling the case, told the Mercury News he couldn’t discuss it because Jewlyes is a juvenile.
“The only way anyone can talk about it is under the authority of the juvenile court,” he said.
But Jewlyes’ sister, Valerie Poquiz, has posted a petition on Change.org urging prosecutors to drop the case against her sister. It says Jewlyes was “pushed over the edge” after being physically attacked by three classmates.