A federal judge in Philadelphia has refused to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that the Lower Merion School District's redistricting plan discriminates by race against nine pupils from Ardmore.

U.S. District Judge Michael M. Baylson ruled Wednesday that the use of pseudonyms in the civil complaint filed by the children's parents in May would not prevent the district from defending itself. The district had argued that its "lack of knowledge of the complaining parties" would make it hard for the district to collect information; the pupils appear in court papers as "Students Doe 1-9."

The district also argued that the complaint failed to give examples of discrimination. Baylson ruled that there were enough "factual allegations" for the case to proceed.

On Jan. 12, the school board passed a redistricting plan. Students in narrow strips of Narberth, Penn Valley, and Ardmore will be bused to Harriton High School in Rosemont, although the children live near Lower Merion High in Ardmore. The district, which is building two new high schools and wants them to serve an equal number of students, said the choice was based on geography to affect the fewest people. Parents of the Ardmore children, who are black, said the pupils were unfairly bearing the brunt of the reassignment.

Contact staff writer Bonnie L. Cook at 610-313-8232 or bcook@phillynews.com.