High school prom draft

Officials at Corona del Mar High School are discouraging an NFL-style "prom draft" through which male students select dates, sometimes buying higher draft selections. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times / January 29, 2014)

A Newport Beach high school where male students say they select prom dates in an NFL-style draft – ranking female students and selling first-round picks to those eager for a top selection – is being discouraged by administrators.

News of the “prom draft” prompted Kathy Scott, principal at Corona del Mar High School, to send an email to parents over the weekend saying that “it is not OK for any student to be objectified or judged in any way.”

In her email, Scott said she’d heard about an ongoing “prom draft” and that it appears there was a similar draft last year.

According to one student, junior and senior boys draw random numbers for the draft but can purchase more desirable draft picks.

This year, one junior paid $140 to get a high first-rank pick so he could select a specific girl, said the student, who is not being identified because of potential school disciplinary action.

“It’s awkward because he spent a large amount of money to go with someone he doesn’t talk to,” the student said. “And she finds it awkward that he chose her.”

The reaction among students on campus has been mixed, he said.

“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 school prom is June 7.

Scott asked parents to speak with their kids about how the “prom draft” could be harmful.

“I do not believe this is intended to be harmful, but this is not behavior that is consistent with our school’s outstanding reputation,” Scott said.

The campus is rebounding from a cheating scandal in which 11 students were expelled after district officials determined that -- with the guidance of a tutor -- some had hacked into the school’s computer system to change grades or access tests.

The Orange County district attorney has been asked to investigate.

adolfo.flores@latimes.com

Twitter: @AdolfoFlores3