It’s May Madness at a high school in Washington state.
That’s the name of an online tournament where boys at Issaquah High School pit their female classmates against each and vote on which is the sexiest. Girls are encouraged to “look their finest” at the suburban Seattle school while voting is underway, King5.com reports.
“This kind of thing is sexualizing us girls like we're some sort of trophy,” sophomore Devon Keller told the station.
The student-led tournament imitates a contest held by a local sports radio station that ranks models and celebrities. It’s been held for at least five years and school officials have been unable to do away it because the contest isn’t held on school grounds.
“Almost every teenage girl has self-esteem issues,” student Tristan Robinson said. “And doing something like that is absolutely ridiculous.”
District spokeswoman Sarah Niegowski said the contest “doesn't feel good” to anyone.
The tournament was briefly shut down last year when parents went to authorities, who threatened organizers with arrest due to vulgar and profane comment under other people’s identities, a crime in Washington state. But the access to the website has become more difficult this year, King5.com reports.
“These are pretty smart folks behind this,” Niegowski said. “They know their First Amendment rights. They're very quiet about who it is and the group behind it.”
School officials say police are monitoring the site, but some students think the damage may already be done.
“People who might already have depression might take it further and there's no way to know what's going on,” student David Mahoney said.