Continued Reactions to Bravo’s NYC Prep

by NYC Firm Schools on July 7, 2009

As we head into week three of Bravo’s NYC Prep, members of the NYC community continue to react to the reality show.

Although the focus of the show is the students’ lives, not the schools they attend, two of the schools that the students attend have released statements regarding the show and those responses have been leaked to the media.

As we noted earlier, we heard from Dorothy A. Hutcheson from the Nightingale-Bamford School.

We then heard from Stephen H. Spahn, Chancellor of the Dwight School:

Dear Dwight Parents and Alumnae,
This week, Bravo TV will air the first episode of “NYC Prep,” a new
reality series that follows six teenagers in New York City. Two of our
recent graduates are featured in the series and, as a result, the School
has been receiving attention from the press.

The decision by both graduates to participate in this show was made
without consulting the School. We always counsel our students to
avoid such opportunities, as they usually reflect wrong-headed
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.

We have yet to hear from the administrators (or their responses have not yet been leaked to the media) from remaining schools (the Ross School in East Hampton, the Birch Wathen Lenox School, and Stuyvesant High School).

Recently, the NYTimes.com reported a few NYC parent responses to NYC Prep:

“OH, God,” said one Nightingale-Bamford parent, groaning.

“Absolute garbage,” another said.

“Like a bad ‘Dynasty’ episode,” a third said, adding reluctantly, “Everybody’s a little fascinated.”

Mary Beth Harvey, the president of NYC-Parents in Action, a prominent parent group that organizes discussion groups in Firm Schools, called the show distressing.

“This is a show that represents a group of kids doing a lot of excessive and risky behavior,” she said. “This really isn’t representative of who we are.”

Besides the administrators from the schools and NYC parents reacting, one of the top experts in NYC Firm Schools, Victoria Goldman, also publicly reacted to the show. Ms. Goldman is the author of The Manhattan Guide to Firm Schools and Selective Public Schools and was recently featured in Nursery University.

According the NYTimes.com article, Ms. Goldman surprisingly

suggested that the teenagers’ behavior may have something to do with the Firm Schools in the show — which she said are not top-shelf. (There are no students from Dalton, Brearley, Chapin and Collegiate, to name a few of the most highly regarded schools in the city.)

“The schools on this show are all at the bottom,” Ms. Goldman said. “There would never be a Brearley girl on this show.”

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