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Civil Rights Office to Investigate 'Senior List' Complaint Against Ladue School District

A parent filed the complaint in September over the annual obscene "senior list" circulated by students at Ladue High.

The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights has agreed to investigate a complaint filed over the annual "senior list" circulated at Ladue Horton Watkins High School.

The list, circulated near graduation time by students for at least 10 years, names a handful of girls each year and describes them with crude, vulgar and sometimes obscene references to students' body parts, sexual habits and hygiene.

A Ladue High parent, Ruth Ahlemeier, complained to the Ladue School District about the list, after hearing that it was an annual tradition among students, and after her daughter appeared on the list that was circulated on May 11.

Ahlemeier, chief executive for OEM Logistics in Olivette, filed the complaint with the Office for Civil Rights on Sept. 19.

"Opening this investigation is the best possible outcome," Ahlemeier said in an email to Patch. "It is the next (step) towards fixing this problem."

In a letter to Ahlemeier, the Office for Civil Rights said, "we have completed our evaluation of your complaint and determined we have the authority to investigate the complaint." The complaint alleged a Title IX violation on the basis of sex discrimination.

"Please note that opening the allegations for investigation in no way implies that (the Office for Civil Rights) has made a determination with regard to their merits," the letter continues.

Ladue officials have called the senior list "an ugly tradition" and said it represents deplorable behavior by a small handful of Ladue High students. Officials have said efforts to halt the practice are ineffective against students who are hell-bent on bad behavior, regardless of the consequences.

Patch will follow up with more details about this case as they become available.

Here's the response posted on Nov. 1 from the Ladue School District.

RELATED ARTICLES

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  • Ladue High's Obscene 'Senior List' Has Been Around at Least 10 Years
  • A Former Cheerleader Discusses Being Bullied Her Junior Year at Ladue High School
  • Ladue High 'Senior List' Prompts Civil Rights Complaint from Mom
Scott Simon October 31, 2012 at 02:13 PM
The best possible outcome? "OCR enforces several Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities that receive Federal funds from the Department of Education. These laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin, sex, disability, and on the basis of age." I see nothing in any story that suggests discimination. What was she barred from or prohibited from participating at the school? Note the language of OCR's reply, "We have the authority to investigate the complaint." And what are the parents going to say publicly if OCR rejects their claim? I don't like bullying. But this action is far-fetched. Quoting Molly Carter who recently posted on Patch with this comment, "Put on your big girl pants and grow up,"

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