Mean high schoolers of today could use a big dose of John Hughes

October 3, 2012 

There should be a special place in after-school detention for people who make high school any harder than it has to be.

High school is horrible. The girls are mean. The boys are ... boys. The cafeteria is Darwinism in action — only the strong make it out alive (and with any sense of their own identity).

Seriously. I graduated from high school more than 10 years ago, but I still get cold and clammy when I think about having to walk those mean halls. For me, high school was a little more “The Breakfast Club” than “Ferris Bueller's Day Off.”

That’s why when I heard about Whitney Kropp, the Michigan sophomore whose classmates voted her onto the school’s homecoming court as a joke, I wanted to curl up on my bed, blast some Backstreet Boys and cry.

Kids today can be so freaking mean. I blame it on Bieber.

What in the name of trigonometry would make those kids think it would be hilarious to make the class loner feel like one of the in crowd? Clearly, they’ve never seen “Pretty in Pink,” and everything is not Duckie at that school.

To me, the worst part of that whole situation is that when Whitney heard her name announced on the school’s PA system, she thought it was for real.

She really, truly believed that the awkward duckling had finally become a swan.

And then kids started laughing at her.

Can you even imagine the humiliation? It’s like “She’s All That” or “10 Things I Hate About You,” but with 100 percent less Freddie Prinze Jr. or Heath Ledger.

First, Whitney finds out her homecoming nomination was rigged as a joke.

Then, the jock who was nominated alongside her and who was supposed to be her escort for the evening backed out — not because he had any high moral convictions about the way she was nominated, but because he didn’t want to be seen with her.

But then, Whitney met her fairy godmother. Or, in this case, her fairy godtown.

The entire town of West Branch, Mich., rallied around Whitney, urging her to stay in the homecoming court. And she did.

And for the homecoming game, the town’s businesses bought her a sparkly red dress. They did her hair and makeup. They took her out to dinner and drove her to the game in a Hummer limousine. The jock who had abandoned her changed his mind and stood beside her. Even the fans from the opposing team showed up in orange, Whitney’s favorite color.

This, my friends, is the stuff YouTube “It Gets Better” videos are made of.

Fingers crossed, things continue to look up for Whitney now that the homecoming game has been played and the media have left town.

I’d like to think her classmates learned their lesson, but I’ve seen “Mean Girls.” There’s not a trust exercise in the world that can make 17-year-old girls act like anything other than 17-year-old girls — insecure, mean and petty.

But the whole story gives me hope. I mean, if Whitney can pull an Andie and go to the prom — err, homecoming game — maybe there’s a little John Hughes magic out there for the rest of us. Maybe it’s really OK to be a brain, or an athlete, or a basket case or a princess.

But please don’t send me back to high school to find out. There aren’t enough Duckies in the world to get me through that.

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