Trial Over Bullying At La Jolla School Under Way

Barbara Bagby Filed Lawsuit Against La Jolla Country Day Over Bullying Incidents

Jury selection began on Monday in a civil trial against an exclusive private school in La Jolla over accusations of bullying incidents.

Barbara Bagby's parents were paying more than $20,000 a year in tuition for her to attend the prestigious La Jolla Country Day School, but Babgy, an athlete and cheerleader, said she dreaded going to school.

"I was very depressed," said Bagby, who spoke exclusively to 10News in December. "I couldn't get out of bed."

After she and other students were suspended for drinking alcohol on a school trip, Bagby claims classmates bullied her during the 2008 school year. In the civil trial, Bagby's attorneys will argue that the school did little about the bullying.

"Right at the top of my locker, there was a dead rat," said Bagby.

Bagby's claims of bullying range from from a dead rat in her locker to a car driven at her. She said there were threats written on Facebook and one written on her car.

"It read, 'Nobody likes you, you're a [expletive], and you should die,'" said Bagby.

Because she didn't want to cause trouble, Bagby said she waited months before going to a school administrator.

When she did speak to a school administrator, Bagby told 10News he said, "'I know those families and I know you and I know you must have done something to instigate this.'"

The school says that statement was a lie and as for the rat, the school will argue it was a mouse that had crawled into the locker and died.

A spokesperson for the school said officials "took immediate corrective action" after another incident, including mandatory counseling with those involved. They said Bagby is bitter because she was asked to leave the school when she cursed a heckler while playing soccer.

Bagby lawyers will counter that others have also been bullied. Several years earlier, a 13-year-old student identified as Gizelle said her face was placed on porn sites and a threatening letter with racial slurs was left on her locker.

In court records, Gizelle said complaints to school officials "fell on deaf ears."

The school called that an unrelated case and it said that neither case involves actual examples of bullying, and that the school has a long tradition of expecting students to treat each other with respect.

In a letter to parents, an official with the school said, "I cannot overstate the importance which La Jolla Country Day places on helping students of all ages develop moral strength and good character."

Babgy's mother, Laura, said no child should be bullied and intends to donate any judgment money – outside of legal costs – to a non-profit aimed at stopping bullying.

"We are happy to finally have our day in court... we have confidence in the justice system and hope the truth comes out," said Bagby's mother.

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