LOS ANGELES – Following the news that boys at a Newport Beach, Calif., high school had set up an NFL-style draft to pick prom dates, students districtwide could get ethics training if one school board member has her way.
Newport-Mesa Unified Trustee Katrina Foley said the so-called “prom draft” – operated by juniors and seniors at affluent Corona del Mar High School – shows a lack of responsibility with wealth.
The order in which male students could ask girls to the prom was set by the draft and at least one boy reportedly paid $140 to get an earlier pick.
The students said the draft took place at two different venues, one for seniors, one for juniors. The seniors used a numbered ball roller to determine their pick in the draft, while juniors drew pieces of paper containing numbers.
“They probably believe it’s not offensive or objectionable and that’s part of the problem,” Foley said. “A lot of this stuff comes back to wealth and being responsible with that wealth.”
She said the school board should institute ethics training for students districtwide. Nearly a dozen students were expelled earlier this year after a tutor some of them used changed their grades.
Jane Garland, the former head disciplinarian for the district who resigned earlier this year, said Corona del Mar lives up to the worst of Newport Beach’s stereotypes.
“There’s definitely issues at that school with certain students feeling entitled,” Garland told the Los Angeles Times. “The culture in Newport Beach is ridiculous and CDM personifies it.”
But a person who identified themselves as part of the draft committee defended the practice to the Times in a statement.
“The 2014 Corona del Mar High School Senior Prom Draft was conducted in an effort to avoid the in-fighting and controversy that often follows the selection of dates, while simultaneously promoting sportsmanship and camaraderie among the male members of the CdM Senior Class,” the statement read. “At no point in time were any girls ‘ranked’ according to any metric, nor was there a specific list of girls for the draft. The draft was not created or organized to objectify or discriminate against any of the students of Corona del Mar High School, and we feel that it is unfortunate that some have chosen to label us in a negative fashion.
Our draft was planned and organized with only the best intentions in mind.”
Students who were part of this year’s draft said the group rented a venue, dressed up in sports coats and then put themselves on the clock – two minutes each – to select a date for the school prom.
The draft attracted both seniors and juniors, about 40 male students in all.
The reaction among students has been mixed.
“A lot of the girls respect the draft and stick with those dates,” he said.
But the prom draft has also drawn complaints from female students, he said. Last year some junior girls were upset that junior boys were asking sophomore girls instead of them, he said.
The draft has been criticized by school administrators, and the principal at Corona del Mar High School urged parents to talk to their children about “the seriousness of this type of activity.”
The intent of the draft, which has been described alternately as “creepy” and “sexist” on Twitter, was to avoid the infighting and controversy that often follows the selection of prom dates, one student said.
“It’s about camaraderie,” he said. “It’s a fun thing to do with the guys.”
Though the draft happened last week, most of the girls haven’t been officially invited yet, the senior said.