A Ventura law firm is representing a Palmdale family in a lawsuit alleging the Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District allowed a student to be physically attacked and bullied at Vasquez High School, according to Miller Law.
Kimberly Coverdill was just a 13-year-old freshman at VHS when the bullying began, said her mother, Amber Coverdill.
The bullying started with another girl at the high school who would allegedly make comments such as “You have friends?” and “I didn’t think you had any friends.”
At one point, a physical altercation was initiated by other girl towards Kimberly.
When asked about the lawsuit and the incident, the secretary for Vasquez High School Principal Ty Devoe said Devoe could not speak about it.
A campus security guard investigated the incident. Officials gave the two girls the same punishment for “mutual combat” — a five-day suspension, Amber Coverdill said.
In a meeting with school officials and the Coverdill family, the campus security guard who investigated the incident allegedly said he had prior knowledge that the fight was going to happen, Amber Coverdill said.
“This man is responsible for teen safety,” Amber Coverdill said. “My family and I were outraged.”
Amber Coverdill hired an attorney and got ahold of the investigation paperwork, she said.
“In the investigation, the security guard ends up admitting to actually knowing about the fight the day prior to it happening and the cheer coach found out about the fight,” Amber Coverdill said, adding that both the security guard and coach talked to the girl who wanted to fight Kimberly. “He didn’t contact me, my daughter or any other schools officials. I thank God every day that this girl didn’t bring a weapon.”
Over the next couple months, Kimberly’s grades fell from a 3.0 grade point average to below a 2.0 grade point average, causing her to be kicked off the soccer team, Amber Coverdill said. Kimberly continued to be bullied, threatened and harassed, even by teachers.
Three months after the physical altercation, Kimberly withdrew from the school and entered into homeschooling.
“I put her in Highland, there were a couple girls bullying her at Highland,” Amber Coverdill said. “She went to the security guard. They handled it wonderfully. They got the girl that was bullying her and let Kimberly remain anonymous. She’s trying another school now and so far she loves it.
“Still to this day, if girls look at her, she gets nervous. I’m just trying to help her realize not everybody is like that.”
Attempts to get statements from Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Brent Woodard, Vasquez High School Principal Ty Devoe and the mother of the girl who allegedly bullied Kimberly have not been returned.
“I would love for them to have some type of training for their teachers and consequences. When somebody neglected what they’re supposed to do they should have consequences,” Amber Coverdill said. “We’re doing this because we care about Kimberly. (The school) did wrong and they should actually have to answer for what they did. It is still something that deeply affects us tremendously.”
Jeremiah Lasater, a 14-year-old special needs student, committed suicide at the same school in 2008 after he was allegedly bullied. The Lasater family filed a lawsuit as well.