Friday, September 12, 2008

The Principal's Office

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. In truTV's new "actuality" show, The Principal's Office, we get to watch real high school administrators confront real - as in, you couldn't possibly make these people up - high school students. It's fine entertainment seeing the teens attempt to rationalize inappropriate behavior and negotiate their way out of punishment. Some of them are skilled strategists, like the girl who refused to participate in gym class because she didn't want to mess up her hair. The gym teacher sent her to the principal who delivered a half-hearted lecture on the goal of coming to school being learning not looking good. The student argued altruistically that people depend on her to show up looking good and she didn't want to let them down. She added that, were she to be forced into exercising and showering, her temporarily straight hair would frizz and she would end up looking "like a lion." Eventually, the dumbfounded principal sent her on her way with a warning. Out in the hallway, the hair-obsessed student told truTV's camera that she considered this a "win-win" situation. Not only had she escaped detention or any other punishment from the principal, she had, most importantly, avoided messing up her hair in gym class.
Other students struggle to utter a coherent sentence. Last night's episode featured one such language-challenged soul who, ironically, was sent to the Principal's office for hanging out in the journalism room. Maybe he should be encouraged to spend more time there instead of less. It might expand his vocabulary beyond "like," "uh" and "y'know."

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