Last week, SF Weekly reported on the growing outraged over a recent decision by Senior Deputy Dan Cabral of the Contra Costa District Attorney's Office to charge Jewlyes Gutierrez, a transgender teen from Hercules, with battery after she defended herself from persistent bullying.
Gutierrez, 16, a student at Hercules Middle/High School got into an altercation with several other students, none of whom have been charged, after enduring non-stop bullying for months.
After reading our story, San Francisco Supervisor David Campos, an openly gay member of the Board of Supervisors, introduced a resolution at the Board's Jan. 28 meeting, calling for the charges against Gutierrez to be dropped.
The resolution was co-sponsored by Supervisors Scott Wiener, David Chiu, Eric Mar and John Avalos. If passed, the resolution will be nothing more than our local government taking a public stance on the issue.
"What happened to Jewlyes Gutierrez is reprehensible," Campos told us.
"Prosecuting Jewlyes for defending herself merely stigmatizes and
bullies her again, this time in an official capacity and by the
institutions who's duty it is to act as her protector. It is important
that as a city, we in San Francisco stand for what is right and
acknowledge that we must commit to protecting the most vulnerable among
us and demand the same of communities around the country, especially in
the Bay Area."
Here's the exact wording of Campos' non-binding resolution.
Members of the West Contra County Unified School board have apologized for the school administration not effectively responding to Jewlyes Gutierrez' requests for the protection and harassment she was experiencing because of her transgender status before the altercation.The resolution points out that transgender and gender non-conforming students face more bullying, exclusion, discrimination, verbal harassment and physical assaults than their peers.
The Costra County District Attorney's office has the discretion to decide whether or not to file charges in any particular case. Interaction with the juvenile justice system and increased use of harsh disciplinary sanctions against students often creates and perpetuates negative outcome creating in effect "school-to-prison pipeline" for youth of color and LGBTQ youth. The criminal prosecution of Jewlyes Gutierrez will deepen the wounds and harm on all sides, further exposing Gutierrez to emotional and mental health risks.