Issaquah High School May Madness: 'Hotness' contest creates controversy

(CNN) - Contests are nothing new for high school students.

But some say a competition at a school in Washington state is not only offensive, but potentially dangerous.

And there is nothing the school board can do to stop it.

At Issaquah high school, a tradition continues this month.

It's called May Madness - an online tournament where boys pit their female classmates against each other and vote on which is hotter.

Girls are encouraged to "look their finest" at school while voting is going on.

One student says the contest feeds a fear most young girls have, "almost every teenage girl has self-esteem issues and doing something like that is absolutely ridiculous."

This has been going on at Issaquah high for at least 5 years and no one has been able to make it go away.

School officials say they are limited in what they can do because the contest isn't being run on school grounds:

Last year parents went to police and got the website shut down. But this year, they may not be so lucky.

Back then, police threatened organizers with arrest because people were posting nasty comments under other people's names – which is a crime in Washington.

This year the boys have buttoned up the web site, making accessibility harder.

These are pretty smart folks behind this -- not doing it on campus. They know their first amendment rights. They're very quiet about who it is and the group behind it," says a school district spokeswoman.

And while the district says it's doing all it can to discourage anyone from taking part, some fear what damage is already being done.

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