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A public school district near Louisville, Kentucky has come down with a bad case of what I call “Participation Trophy Syndrome” – or PTS.

The Greater Clark County School Board in Jeffersonville, Indiana, is considering a plan to eliminate the valedictorian system because it creates “unhealthy competition,” according to Supt. Andrew Melin.

Unhealthy competition? Is he serious?

Did a kid suffer a concussion while trying to parse a participle?

“When students are competing for the Val and the Sal, they’re trying to find ways to maneuver through the system to try and get the best grades they can possibly get, as opposed to taking the course work that’s truly in their own best interest,” Supt. Melin told television station WHAS.

For you folks living in a commune in Berkeley, the “Val” is the valedictorian and the “Sal” is the salutatorian.

Now, the superintendent does have a valid point. If the kids are taking easy classes for an easy “A” – well, that’s not right.

But I’m curious about the kinds of courses he thinks the youngsters need to take. Are we talking about useful classes like shop or mechanics? Or is it more along the lines of “The Textual Appeal of Tupac Shakur” or “Interrogating Gender: Centuries of Dramatic Cross-Dressing”?

So instead of honoring the best and the second-best – the school is considering a plan to honor more kids.

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