RICHMOND, CALIFORNIA - A 16-year-old transgender high school student, Jewelyes Guitierrez, spoke in front of the Contra Costa Unified School Board on Monday night, describing how she had no choice but to defend herself after being bullied by three girls at her school last month.
Guitierrez, a sophomore at Hercules High School in Hercules, California, described to the school board members how she ended up fighting with three girls during lunchtime on November 15th.
"As I was telling her how she was being disrespectful and rude, she spits gum in her hand and throws it in my face,"
A cell phone video which recorded the fight that day shows students pulling hair and pushing each other. The fight resulted in Guitierrez and the three other girls involved getting suspended from school.
According to Hercules Police, Guitierrez started the fight by throwing the first punch, but Guitierrez explained to the school board how she was provoked by the three girls by be bullied by them first. Guitierrez also stated that she had tried unsuccessfully to get help from her school's vice principal before the fight took place.
"It was just build-up, after build-up, after build-up and no one was there to really help me."
During an interview with the areas local NBC affiliate station, Guitierrez explained again how she felt she had no other alternative but to fight with the three girls who attacked her.
"I was just sticking up for myself," Guitierrez continues, "Because you're different, you'll get picked on, you'll get name calling, bullied, taunted, harassed -- all those."
The November 15th fight involving Guitierrez is not the only incident involving bullying over gender orientation to take place in that school district that month. On November 4th, Sasha Fleischman, an “Agender” student, suffered second and third degree burns to the legs after another student allegedly set fire to her skirt. Fleischman required three surgeries and three weeks in the burn unit due to her injuries.
Though Guitierrez pleaded with the school board at the Monday night meeting to provide better support for the LGBT students in her district, only time will tell if the school board will take any measures to do so.
* for more information on Transgender Issues, visit the International Transgender Historical Society website.
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