Issaquah High School holds 'Hotness Tournament' every month of May. (Photo : Creative Commons)
As the month of May progresses, most students would gear up for the end of a school year, but not the students of Issaquah High School. Students at this Washington school are more excited about a certain tradition they celebrate during the month: May Madness.
Dubbed as the "hotness tournament," the competition is set among female students that pit them against each other in a bracket to determine who is the "hottest." Following the idea of the college basketball series, March Madness, the contest is based online and winners are chosen via votes from their schoolmates.
The Seattle Times reported that students' names are entered or withheld from the contest without their consent. During the competition duration, girls are encouraged to "look their finest" in school.
"This kind of thing is sexualizing us girls like we're some sort of trophy," sophomore Devon Keller told King5.com.
"Almost every teenage girl has self-esteem issues and doing something like that is absolutely ridiculous," added Tristan Robinson, an Issaquah student.
According to the report by King5.com, May Madness has been going on for at least five years now and no one can make it stop-not even the school administration.
Issaquah High School District spokeswoman, Sara Niegowski, said that not much can be done to the promoters of the offensive competition. Only when it is brought into the school grounds or if it causes disruption in school can the Issaquah administration step in.
"It's hard," Niegowski told King5. "It doesn't feel good to anybody."
Last year, the school and the parents were able to shut down the website of the derogatory website after they went to the police; however, it was only temporarily. The police threatened to arrest the organizers after profane and vulgar comments were posted using other people's names-a crime in Washington.
However, since then, students have become more techy-savvy and had accessibility for the site and the voting polls harder to reach. Facebook links to the voting sites have also been removed. Organizers have also stayed anonymous
"These are pretty smart folks behind this. They know their first amendment rights. They're very quiet about who it is and the group behind it," Niegowski explained to King5.
Right now, school officials are saying the police are monitoring the sites. The school is also doing what it can to discourage its students from taking part and patronizing the offensive and deprecating competition.