High School 'Hotness Tournament' Sparks Controversy In Washington Town (VIDEO)

05/08/2013 11:56 am ET | Updated May 09, 2013

May does not only mean the end of a school year for students at a Washington high school. It also means May Madness, a competition that pits female students against each other in a bracket to determine who is the "hottest."

The so-called "hotness tournament" has become a tradition at Issaquah High School in Issaquah, Wash., according to Seattle's KING-TV. Over the past five years, boys have been encouraged to vote online for who they think are the best-looking girls in their class. Girls are encouraged to "look their finest" during the voting period.

The creators of May Madness -- which is allegedly set up similarly to college basketball's March Madness -- are anonymous, according to The Seattle Times. Last year, the contest's Facebook page had a direct link to voting, but this year it does not. School administrators have been unable to determine who is behind it.

However, Issaquah School District spokeswoman Sara Niegowski realizes that they are relatively powerless. “These are pretty smart folks behind this," Niegowski told KING-TV. "They know their First Amendment rights. They're very quiet about who it is and the group behind it."

Still, she is clear that she doesn't remotely agree with the message the tournament sends.

“I think it’s certainly a form of harassment and bullying,” she told Fox's KCPQ. “I don’t think it’s set up to make people feel good and just from the start you’re basing things on looks, personality, popularity. That’s preying on people’s confidences when you’re already at a very vulnerable age.”

A representative for Issaquah High School could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.

Clarification: A previous headline was amended to clarify that the school itself did not officially sanction the contest.

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