For at least six years, spring brings one thing to Mount Si High School not welcomed by many of its female students: May Madness, an online contest that ranks girls on their looks, set up in a bracket system similar to college basketball’s famed March Madness basketball playoffs. Online participants vote on the head-to-head match ups of female students, with the winner moving to the next round.
Last year, a group of Mount Si juniors started a gender equality group and created t-shirts aimed at once and for all stopping the yearly contest that many say degrades female students.
But once again, the contest resurfaced. This time, though, the Mount Si High administration is taking a firm stance on the May Madness ranking contest after a group of girls approached the school, asking for assistance to stop it.
According to an email set to the parents of students suspected of participating in the private online group coordinating this year’s contest, the activity falls under the category of “harassment and hazing” and school policy gives administrators the authority to discipline students who “cause disruptive behavior in the school initiated by conduct in the community.”
Snoqualmie Valley School District Public Information Officer, Carolyn Malcolm, explained this year the May Madness site is private, only seen by those invited, so the school cannot locate it. Administrators did receive a list of students associated with the site, though, but it is unclear if students were just invited to join the group or if they are actually participating.
Malcolm stated via email, “So at this point, the school is reaching out to parents of those students to talk with their kids and asked them to discontinue. We need help from parents to monitor their kids social media use and talk about how such activities are disrespectful to others.”
According to the email sent to parents, there are no consequences at this point for students whose names are on the online ‘May Madness’ list, but if the school receives information that students are still participating after Friday, May 8th, the consequences could include not participating in post-season athletics, prom or graduation ceremonies.
Parents are encouraged to speak to their kids about their online activities, with a reminder that potential employers and college admissions officers often search online activity of applicants.