As a child of the 1980s, I cheered on Ferris Bueller as he played hooky to hang out with his pals on his day off and rooted for John Bender as he snuck out of detention with the Breakfast Club. In both of these films, the school administrator served as the villain. Both Dean Edward Rooney and Assistant Principal Richard Vernon had the same goal: Take down the problem student and make his life miserable.
While I have to admit that these preposterous characterizations are often hilarious, they perpetuate a damaging stereotype that school administrators are ruthless disciplinarians who are out of touch with students. (more…)