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.
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Creve Coeur Editor Gregg Palermo contributed to this report.