Teen reacts to jury verdict in lawsuit brought against San Diego Unified School District

Teen claimed bullying at Clairemont High ignored

SAN DIEGO - A 19-year-old girl who sued the San Diego Unified School District was awarded no money but says she is glad the jury found there was questionable conduct in the handling of her complaints at Clairemont High School three years ago.

Jillisa Dickerson sued San Diego Unified on grounds that she was repeatedly bullied while the Clairemont High administration looked the other way.

"It started out as verbal harassment, turned into racial things, got violent," she said. "I was followed home. During school, I was pushed into lockers… so bad once my knees were bleeding from it."

She reported the incidents but was labeled a drama queen.

"And the school.... did nothing," Dickerson said. "I was shooed away, pushed away… my complaints didn't matter."

Her grandfather sent repeated emails to officials at Clairemont High School, urging action to protect her.

Andre' Zeehandelaar told 10News, "The school shouldn't be taking children in who've been convicted of felonies and put them back in against their victims."

Zeehandelaar was referring to Jeff Kennedy. Kennedy was convicted of statutory rape of Jillisa – who was 15 at the time – and a 12-year-old.

Kennedy did not go to prison. He was given 20 days of work service and probation and then allowed to return to Clairemont High, where Jillisa said she was targeted. She was suspended herself twice and arrested once.

"I feel the school has acted outrageously," Zeehandelaar said. "They haven't even been straightforward with the court, with the jury and it's a behavior that I don't think is proper of the school district."

No damages were awarded.

Dickerson summed up her feelings this way.

"I'm feeling okay," she said. "I believe I was right. I was treated wrong. I think the outcome should have been different, but I'm glad someone listened to me."

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