The Orange County, California district attorney's office has been asked to investigate a "prom draft" that has been apparently been held for a decade at a Newport Beach high school.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the "draft" has been something of an open secret among students at Corona Del Mar. After purchasing tickets allowing them to take part, the participants -- 40 male juniors and seniors -- draw random numbers allowing them to pick their dates to the event, scheduled to be held on June 7 this year.
However, participants are allegedly also allowed to pay for higher draft picks. One junior allegedly paid $140 to ensure his opportunity to pick one specific girl.
"It's awkward because he spent a large amount of money to go with someone he doesn't talk to," one student told the Times. "And she finds it awkward that he chose her."
KCBS-TV reported that the discovery of the "draft" has set off a debate involving students and parents.
"If they treat women this way at this age, what will they do then when they’re of legal age," one parent Vivian Rowe, told KCBS. "They're drafting them. That's not exactly respectful."
But one female student, sophomore Jessie Harris, defended her participation in an email to the Orange County Register, saying she and some female friends were among those selected.
"It is all just a fun way to decide who you will be going to prom with," Harris wrote. "It is not meant to harm those who are picked and I do not believe that it does. It is not, was never, and will never ever be used to objectify the girls at our school."
A Twitter account was also devoted to publicizing the "event" last week by posting pictures of chairs laid out at the event site and also the message, "Many drafters on the prowl tomorrow for #freeagents so dress nice ladies" on the day it ocurred. The account, which is now protected and lists itself as "inactive," features a picture of National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell as its profile image.
Principal Kathy Scott contacted parents via email late last week, after being informed of the "draft's" existence, saying it "may be" harmful, even if no harm is intended.
"I urge you to talk with your student(s) and discuss the seriousness of this type of activity," Scott wrote. "Prom is an important event in the lives of our students and I would hate to have to cancel it or any other important student related activity due to the negative actions of a few."
Watch KCBS' report, as aired on Tuesday, below.
[Image: "Male Hand Holding Female Hand With Corsage," via Shutterstock]