I've had a soft spot for Corona del Mar High School since the late, great newspaper adviser (and Newport-Mesa teacher union president) Linda Mook asked me to volunteer as a mentor for The Trident staff years and years ago. But it's become increasingly difficult to fly my CdM High freak flag given the mounting evidence the upper-crusty campus is the incubator for Orange County's evils.
Consider these seven high-profile incidents from the past decade or so.
1. Prom Draft
The high school just received national scorn when a student tradition was exposed: Boys bidding on girls for prom dates. One of 15 fellows taking part this prom season reportedly put down $140 for his chosen girl. Corona del Mar High's principal sent parents an email about the NFL-style draft, saying it is wrong to objectify girls, and a student tweet about the draft before the June 7 prom was then taken down. Boys interviewed by an LA news crew said the whole incident was "overblown" and that "the whole purpose was to avoid conflict, the whole purpose was to not hurt girls' feelings, anyone's feelings." He's right: How can a lottery for girls hurt anyone's feelings?
After it came out earlier this school year that as many as 150 CdM High students were part of hacking scandal–where grades were changed in school computers–the school district expelled only 11 kids. That so disgusted a Newport-Mesa school district official, she quit. Families of the expelled students sued the school district, although four recently reached settlements that had them dropping out of the litigation. By the time this is over, look for school officials to take the blame for not allowing the hacking, which does show advanced computer skills, no?
3. Nekkid Pics
CdM High students and parents were warned last school year about nude photos of minors being posted on social media sites. The cops had to explain to the campus that these images constituted child pornography and that criminal charges could follow. Surely A+'s all around in fourth period photography, however …
4. Buying Test Answers
A few years before CdM High students hacked into computers, about 10 then-sophomores purchased test answers on Amazon, where a merchant sold questions and answers provided in their teachers' textbooks. It was later revealed at a CdM High PTA meeting that at least one enterprising student then sold the answers to classmates. A school official called it a "really big issue" at the time, but it was never disclosed if any discipline followed. Surely A+'s all around in fifth period AP economics, however …
5. Rapey Fantasies
After a 17-year-old girl complained about the principal cancelling a production of Rent–a decision that was later reversed and a high school-approved version of the AIDS-tinged musical debuted in April 2009–three varsity Sea Kings football players posted a video on the school's Facebook page in which they described how and where they would rape the girl as well as the manner in which they would shoot her to death. The video, which included homophobic remarks directed at another student, freaked out the girl and her parents, who were assured the boys would be disciplined. That never happened, although the boys did go on to be honored for their football prowess. Scoreboard!
6. More Hacking
It's not a repeat of No. 2 but a different case from 2004, when a student hacked into CdM High's computer system and altered grades. The 17-year-old was taken into custody a week after school officials notified police of suspicious changes to grades of six juniors and one senior. Of course, the school learned a valuable lesson that would ensure something like this would never hap- … oh. Never mind.
7. Sue the Coach
The CdM High baseball coach was sued in 2003 for the second time in two years by the physician father of a pitcher who claimed his son's arm and college prospects were damaged by having thrown too many innings. One suit was for allegedly ruining the teen's chance for a college scholarship and, perhaps, a career in the big leagues, and the other was for remarks the coach made about the case to a local newspaper. The coach won. CdM's rep for being a bastion for the whiny, the privileged, the perverse and the win-at-any-cost crowd? Not so much.