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Transgender student allegedly attacked by boys in school bathroom

Crime, Law and JusticeSexual AssaultCrimeSocial Issues

Police in the small Northern California city of Hercules have launched a sexual assault and hate crime investigation after a transgender student was allegedly attacked by three teenage boys while using a bathroom that matches his gender identity.

The 15-year-old Hercules Middle-High School student, who is female but identifies as male, said that as he was exiting the boys bathroom Monday morning he was confronted by "three unidentified male juveniles," according to a news release from the Hercules Police Department.

The student told authorities that the three boys, believed to be around 16 or 17, pushed him into the bathroom's handicapped stall, where he was then "physically and sexually assaulted."

The transgender student was taken to a hospital, where he was treated for unspecified injuries. No suspects were immediately identified and no arrests had been made Tuesday morning.

The alleged attack is at least the second incident involving a transgender student at the Hercules campus this year, where teachers recently overwhelmingly voted no-confidence in their principal, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

Jewlyes Gutierrez, a transgender student at the school, was arrested in November and charged with battery because of a fight she was allegedly involved with after, she claimed, school officials were not receptive to complaints she was being bullied.

Calling the bathroom attack "tragic," Charles Ramsey, president of the West Contra Costa Unified school board, told the Mercury News that he wanted to address the issue further at the next board meeting.

"Obviously, things are running amok at Hercules," Ramsey said. "We have to do better. This is all escalating and starting to accumulate. Really, it's an unsafe environment at the school and a lot of people are concerned."

A state law passed last year requires school districts to let transgender students participate in school programs and use school facilities, such as bathrooms and locker rooms, based on their gender identity instead of their biological sex. A measure to block the law failed to qualify for the November ballot.

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ari.bloomekatz@latimes.com

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