Should Schools Ban Kids From Going On Reality TV Shows?

Oh, Lauren Conrad, your demented life could have turned out differently if only your high school back in Laguna Beach, CA, had had the presence of mind to ban kids from starring on reality TV.

The New York Times didn’t actually get to the bottom of whether any of the New York City prep schools whose students were filmed on Bravo’s “NYC Prep” might forbid students from going on reality TV. But since Bravo is damned if “NYC Prep” is not going to be a “real life ‘Gossip Girl’,” well, it would be safe to interpret the letter written by the chancellor of Dwight School, an Upper West Side prep school which two students on the show attended, as a big ol’ warning shot. Even thought Dwight School, as well as the other elite schools on NYC Prep, aren’t named on camera, the jig is up. Hence, Stephen H. Spahn, Dwight School’s chancellor, wrote to alumni:

“We always counsel our students to avoid such opportunities, as they usually reflect wrongheaded stereotypes. The decision to participate in the series was made solely by the students’ families…As stated in our Student/Parent Handbook, students must maintain high ethical standards and behave, both on and off campus, in ways that reflect favorably upon the School, their families, and themselves. While the two students who participated in this show are now graduates, we would like to remind our current families that there is “zero tolerance” for students who find themselves in a similar situation and violate the spirit of this rule.”

He is, of course, referring to whatever naughty party behavior his ex-students did on camera.

Going forward, why don’t more places just proactively outright ban members of their flock from starring in reality TV? That makes more sense than being on the defensive and reacting.

If your workplace or your school told everyone that if they were filmed for a reality TV show in their off-hours, would you support it? [NYTimes City Room Blog]