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Ladue High 'Senior List' Prompts Civil Rights Complaint from Mom

Ruth Ahlemeier, the Ladue High mom who exposed the school's slam-list tradition, also shared the story on the Riverfront Times.

The mother of a Ladue Horton Watkins High student who sparked a controversy by revealing the 10-year "ugly tradition" of a senior "slam" list, has filed a civil rights complaint against the school.

Ruth Ahlemeier, who's daughter graduated from Ladue last year and whose son is a student there now, written and distributed by students annually toward the end of the year.

The list names a handful of girls and describes them with crude, vulgar and sometimes obscene references to students' body parts, sexual habits and hygiene.

In her complaint, filed Wednesday with the Kansas City Office for Civil Rights, Ahlemeier says:

"When a girl finds her name on the list and brings it into the administration's office, she is told to 'learn how to get used to it'. The Principal makes no attempt to leave her office to confiscate the lists or request others to do so. The crying and hysterical girls are filmed and photographed for others amusement while they are reading about themselves on the lists. The administrators simply ignore this situation."

Ahlemeier said the list is a violation based on provisions involving sex discrimination.

The Ladue School District has strongly condemned the annual tradition, which officials there have tracked back at least 10 years, but have said there is little they can do to guard against the behavior of high school students hell bent on flouting the rules and behaving badly. In one letter to Ahlemeier, district officials called it an "ugly tradition."

Ladue spokesperson Susan Dielmann told Patch late Friday afternoon that there was not much the district could say but added "our attorney will be looking over the complaint and we'll take it from there."

An article published Friday online in the Riverfront Times largely recounts the coverage from Patch, and includes comments from a former student, .

Ahlemeier told the Riverfront Times she filed the complaint for discrimination based on sex in a federally assisted education program under Title IX with the Kansas City Office for Civil Rights.

The RFT article quotes a civil rights lawyer who notes that the complaint pits the notions of a "hostility-free environment" against the free speech doctrine, and doubts that the courts will take up the complaint.

RELATED ARTICLES

  • Obscene List About Ladue High Girls Sparks Parent's Ire with School Board
  • 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

Creve Coeur Editor Gregg Palermo contributed to this report.

MK141 September 21, 2012 at 10:51 PM
@ Ross, this is about Ladue, not Parkway!!!
Charlotte D'alfonso September 21, 2012 at 10:55 PM
Ross-Bullying should never be allowed. However, please note this was the Ladue School District and not Parkway.
Rob Halasey September 21, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Wow! It amazes me that any school administrator would accept this ugly and disgusting behavior for so long as to consider it "tradition". If group bullying and sexual harassment are tolerated by the administration, then the entire administration MUST GO! I find it sick that when told of this horrible behavior the so-called authority would tell a young girl to 'learn how to get used to it'. "LEARN HOW TO GET USED TO IT!" The more the administrator's accept unacceptable behavior, the worse the behavior will get as each little punk tries to one up the other in pushing the extreme. Introduce the administrators of Ladue High to the unemployment line and tell them to "get used to it!" The school is not impotent and could simply expel those that help produce and distribute the list, those that participate in the walk of shame, as well as those that film/video the walk of shame. Let's see how bright their futures look when they have to face the consequences of their actions. This needs to END NOW!
Tired of waste September 22, 2012 at 12:52 AM
if you watch the TV story on Fox2...the administrators give the normal education double speak about expectations, and watching behaviors as they set guidelines to change behaviors in the future...BS.... Fire the administrators who allow this, expell the rich kids that started this and let's get on with it....NO is NO.....a bunch a limp knee wooses....
Ladue Parent September 22, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Well said, Rob. I couldnt agree more. The administration there doesn't know the meaning of discipline, or consequences for actions. Stuff like this sticks with a kid for life, believe me. How would these kids, and the administration feel if one of the victims decided to end their life, or someone else's because of the list? The kids need to be cognizant of others' feelings, and the administration needs to act.

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