For five years running, boys at Issaquah High School have pitted their female classmates against one another in an online "May Madness" tournament, voting on the sexiness of the girls and encouraging them to "look their finest" at school.
Officials in Issaquah, about 15 miles east of Seattle, say they have tried to stop the site, modeled after one focusing on celebrities run by a local sports radio station, without success.
“It's hard,” Sarah Niegowski, the district’s spokeswoman, told King 5 News. “It doesn't feel good to anybody.” School officials say they can only do so much, since the contest isn't on school grounds.
After parents successfully got authorities to shut down last year's tournament, police threatened to arrest the organizers under Washington law, which prohibits posting vulgar or profane comments under other's names.
This year, the site's organizers have made it more difficult to access, and thus, more difficult to monitor.
“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 are doing their best to monitor the site and discourage students from participating.
"This kind of thing is sexualizing us girls like we're some sort of trophy," said sophomore Devon Keller.
"People who might already have depression might take it further and there's no way to know what's going on," student David Mahoney added.
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