LADUE, MO (KPLR)-- A Ladue High School parent is speaking out against what she calls a degrading and vulgar tradition that she believes the district has deliberately hidden.
Ruth Alhemeier, a small business owner, is the parent of a daughter who recently graduated and a son who is a junior at Horton Watkins High School. She first saw the "senior list" last May. " It's shocking; it's obscene; it's vulgar, and I just couldn't believe it."
The slam sheet described seven Ladue junior girls in critical and obscene terms. It was distributed to students at school. "This is like sexual harassment including bullying. It's a very hostile list," Ahlemeier said.
Ahlemeier met several times with administrators and was not satisfied. She quoted high school principal Bridget Hermann as saying, "Well it's kind of just tradition, it's been going on for a really long time there's not much we can do to stop it."
Hermann confirmed Tuesday the list had appeared multiple times during her tenure at Ladue. "Every time it does occur we immediately investigate. We look to find out who the perpetrators are. If we do find those names, those students then we take disciplinary action," Hermann explained.
"Unfortunately we can't control the behavior of every single student, but we do work hard when behaviors occur that are inappropriate not only to discipline, but to also teach and to educate and move forward from there," she said.
Ahlemeier said she tried to file a complaint with the school but was told administrators had already investigated the situation and did not violate any rules. She complained the meeting she was given with school board members on Monday was closed to the public despite appeals from state lawmakers that the district follow Missouri's Sunshine Law.
"My son is a junior this year, juniors traditionally write this list," Ahlemeier said adding, " the boys are in an environment where they are learning this is okay; this is not a problem; it's a tradition." She went on to complain this was not the kind of message she wants her son to learn.
"When they grow up and have a job they cannot act this way on their job because they will be fired and their careers will be ruined," Ahlemeier pointed out.
Hermann said she has formed a committee of teachers and will hold a two day workshop on bullying before surveying students about the overall problem. "We want to find out from the student body things that are occurring," Hermann said. She added the school plans to develop some common objectives and a program that not only our staff can implement but also our student body can implement.
"We do take this very seriously and we want to continue to work toward preventing harassment and preventing bullying."
Ahlemeier said the school and the Ladue district have yet to give her an itemized list of what administrators will do to combat such harassment. She said she has been advised by an attorney that Ladue is violating federal civil rights laws and she can file a complaint at the federal level.
"If the school district does take clear and known steps that they are going to put a stop to the bullying situation then I wouldn't file a claim with the civil rights office," she added.