Administrators at a Southern California high are discouraging students from participating in a tradition called "prom draft" that involves male students ranking female students and then selecting a date from the favored pool.
The Orange County Register reported Tuesday that Corona del Mar High principal Kathy Scott sent parents an email about the NFL-style draft over the weekend.
"I am sure that the intention of this ‘draft’ is not to be harmful, but it may be," Scott wrote. "It is not OK for any student to be objectified or judged in any way."
The long-standing tradition is not affiliated with the school and has operated mostly in secrecy Male students draw draft picks in a lottery but can pay to improve their draft number so they can pick the date of their choice.
Students had been posting on Twitter about the draft for the June 7 prom, but the posts have been removed. Some students told the Register they were disappointed by the negative coverage it generated on social media.
"I am part of the draft and am friends with many girls in the draft and yes, in some instances girls can be picked by appearance,” sophomore Jessie Harris said. “It is all just a fun way to decide who you will be going to prom with."
Emily Flores, co-president of the Feminists United club at neighboring Estancia High School, issued a statement calling the draft "insulting."
"Prom should be about having a fun time with your peers and celebrating the end of a successful academic year," Flores said. “These boys must be very confused about the time we live in if they think that being asked to prom is such a high honor."
Scott discouraged participation in the prom draft in her email to parents, saying, “This is not behavior that is consistent with our school’s outstanding reputation.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.