During Monday's Ladue School District Board of Education meeting, the district's superintendent, Dr. Marsha Chappelow, issued the following statement in connection with the controversy surrounding allegations of bullying at Horton Watkins High School tied to an obscene list that has circulated toward the end of the school year:
"I’d like to take a few minutes to give you the status of the situation at the high school that has been receiving media attention…
In the past, there have been student-created lists containing highly inappropriate comments about other students distributed at the high school.
In the latest instance, some of the students responsible were identified and disciplined.
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Regrettably, in most instances, the students have been successful in remaining anonymous, despite the current and past high school administration’s diligent attempts to determine which students were responsible.
Let me be very clear, while the number of times this behavior has occurred has been highly exaggerated, one instance of this behavior is too many.
The district has extensive bullying prevention programs in place and has been in the process of implementing an additional program at the high school.
This initiative is not because of any particular incident or behavior, but simply because bullying cannot and will not be tolerated and we are committed to giving our students and our staff whatever tools they need to create a safe emotional climate for all students.
There has also been recent discussion about additional legislation being passed to assist school districts in addressing bullying issues and we would welcome any additional support from our state legislature in that regard.
In addition, we are aware of reports indicating a Civil Rights Complaint has been filed in relation to this behavior… There are a few important things you should know.
- A complaint is not a lawsuit and the district has not received any notification of having been named in a Civil Rights Complaint.
- If we should be notified of such a complaint, the district will absolutely cooperate and provide whatever information is requested.
- Let me again be clear, no one wants this behavior to end more than me, the Board of Education, our staff, parents and the vast majority of our students. Any assistance we can receive in putting this issue to rest would be most welcome.
All of this being said, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the many parents, staff members and interested district patrons who have expressed their support over the last few weeks. While everyone is disappointed – to say the least – that this behavior has occurred, I greatly appreciate the level of understanding of just how very difficult it has been to put an end to it.
My sincere hope is that time is now close at hand.