CHIPLEY — Vernon High School might be the subject of an TruTV series if the Washington County School Board decides to OK the project.
Principal Brian Riviere told the board on Monday that he was contacted by TruTV producers as a potential subject for “The Principal’s Office,” a series on the reality TV-based cable channel.
“They asked me why I thought Vernon High School would be a suitable subject for their show, and I said we love our children,” Riviere said. “I also said that Washington County still uses corporal punishment, and they said, ‘wait a minute, what?’”
Riviere said he asked the producers how their parents raised them, and then asked them, “so why would we be any different?”
“I wanted to put this in your hands,” Riviere told the board. He gave them handouts about the show.
“We will need time to read through this,” board member Susan Roberts said. Riviere said he understood and he would let the producers know that he had presented it to the board. “I didn’t want to just call you up on the cell phone, I wanted you to have time to consider this,” he said.
Riviere said he had seen the show and that it was well done, and didn’t cast the schools featured in a bad light. “I had it DVR’d and I thought it was great.”
Riviere said the show typically follows the action in a principal’s office. Generally he said he thought the show was objective, but some of it may have been staged for comic effect. “They would follow us around, see what we do and how we do it.”
“One of the toughest and most important jobs in America is that of high school principal. These men and women work everyday to keep order in our schools and provide a safe haven for our children to learn,” according to the TruTV website. “While principals don't exactly run into burning buildings or rescue drowning swimmers, they are nevertheless heroic lifesavers and their stories are never dull. Watch as these brave administrators listen, nurture and dispense justice in that most feared and respected of all rooms: ‘The Principal's Office.’”
“I’m very excited about it,” Riviere told the board. “The producer I spoke to said ‘I guarantee we’re were not coming in to make you ridiculous.’”
Board member Vann Brock suggested Riviere call a few principals who have been featured on the show to see what their experience was like.
In other business, Robert Russell of Chartwells School Dining and Connie Walker, Director of Dining Services, spoke to the board about USDA portion size requirements. Russell said the portions students were being served were as required by the government.
“I’ve had several parents ask me why their child wasn’t getting enough to eat at school,” Roberts said.
Russell said often there is a correlation between student hunger and a lack of breakfast.
“When you have children skipping breakfast, then staying after school for sports, that is a long time between meals.” He also said some school districts offer in class snacks of fruit, based on a grant program, which helps with student hunger.
“A hungry child can become a classroom management issue,” Russell said.