HERCULES, CA, December 3, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A California school district committed to massively overhauling its harassment policy after a viral YouTube video showed a transgender boy having a spat with three girls – but there's a twist: Police and school officials say the fight was not a “hate crime,” and that the transgender student started the fight.
The West Contra Costa Unified School District voted to draft a new anti-bullying policy last night after a 22-second video of the boy and three girls went viral on YouTube.
Jewelyes Guitierrez, a biological male, got into a heated discussion with a female student on November 13 in the courtyard at Hercules High School in the city of Hercules, about 10 miles north of Berkeley.
The Hercules Police Department investigated the altercation and found that Guitierrez slapped a girl in the face, prompting two girls to come to the female student's aid. They briefly pulled the boy's hair before he ran off.
All four students – the boy and three girls – are 16-year-old sophomores. All were briefly suspended and have returned to school.
After an official investigation, police said the incident was not an anti-transgender “hate crime.” School officials agreed. Adam Taylor, executive director of K-12 Schools for the district, said the fight was “not about the transgender issue. It's really about friendships or allegiances.”
But the school released a clip of the short incident that was recorded on a cell phone. The transgender student was portrayed in national and social media as a victim, bringing new pressure on a school district that already has a troubled past.
Guitierrez gave his side of the story at last night's public meeting.
“As I was telling [the female student] how she was being disrespectful and rude, she spits gum in her hand and throws it in my face,” he said. That prompted him to turn physical.
If Guitierrez was remorseful, the media did not report it. Instead, he appeared to defend his actions Monday night.
“People who are different, I feel, should stand up for themselves,” he said at the meeting. He then told a local NBC affiliate, “I was just sticking up for myself,” Gutierrez told the local NBC affiliate.
In August, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill allowing students who call themselves transgender to use the restrooms, locker rooms, and hotel rooms of their professed sex. Pro-family forces have attempted to place an initiative before voters to overturn the law.
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The result, they warned, would be uncomfortable moments, physical altercations or, as has happened numerous times in Canada, sexual abuse.
Similarly the media have not reported the females' side of the story, or why they felt the need to help a young woman in a fight with a young biological male.
The school board voted to revise its bullying policy, with a final document coming up for ratification on January 29.
The former president of this Bay-area school board, Karin Fiffer (who is a lesbian) said that during her tenure on the board 2004-8, she aimed at “raising staff members' sensitivity.”
Others hoped, regardless of the facts of the incident, that the new policy would change young people's views and alter society's views of sex and gender.
A woman at Monday's meeting said the board needed to “create school environments that are truly welcoming and inclusive to all. Because if we catch these young people, then everybody else falls in line.”