A Newport Beach high school principal has addressed rumors that a group of boys on campus treat the spring prom as an NFL-style draft, ranking female students and sometimes paying top dollar for first-round picks.
The alleged “prom draft” at Corona del Mar High School was the subject of a letter sent Friday to parents by Principal Kathy Scott.
“This ‘draft’ appears to be similar to a sports draft. What I understand is that male students purchase draft tickets and females are then ‘drafted’ as dates for the prom,” Scott wrote. “I am sure that the intention of this ‘draft’ is not to be harmful, but it may be. It is not ok for any student to be objectified or judged in any way.”
The alleged prom draft was first reported Monday by the Orange County Register, which noted that a tweet posted by the senior class Twitter account last week stated “Many drafters on the prowl tomorrow for #freeagents so dress nice ladies.”
The account has since been deactivated, the Register reported.
A Twitter account for “cdmprom_insider” was protected and inactive, but there were many public interactions with the account from last week and April 2013, all apparently referring to the alleged draft.
To participate, male juniors and seniors draw random numbers but can purchase more desirable draft picks, one student told the Los Angeles Times.
A junior paid $140 to get a high first-rank pick so he could select a specific girl with whom he doesn’t even speak, making an awkward situation, the student told the newspaper.
“A lot of the girls respect the draft and stick with those dates,” the unidentified student said, according to the Times.
Students on campus Tuesday said the controversy was being overblown.
“The whole purpose was to avoid conflict. It was never to hurt any of the girls’ feelings, or anyone’s feelings,” one student said in an interview. “If I was the last pick, I’m still going to choose my girlfriend. If the last pick has a girl in mind and … the other guys know who it’s going to be, they’re going to specifically not pick her.”
Principal Scott was not speaking publicly about the rumored prom draft, a spokeswoman for Newport-Mesa Unified School District said in an email Tuesday.
In her letter to parents, Scott asked them to speak positively about Corona del Mar High if contacted by news media.
She also asked parents to talk to their children about the “seriousness of this type of activity.”
“I do not believe this is intended to be harmful, but this is not behavior that is consistent with our school’s outstanding reputation,” she wrote.
The school, a high-performing campus in an affluent suburb, has been in the spotlight in recent months.
In January, 11 Corona del Mar High students were expelled in the scandal.
KTLA’s Chip Yost contributed to this article.