In the "real life" of one television reality show participant, she is a lunch lady at Greencastle Middle School.
But in the real life outside of "reality" TV, the Greencastle School Board had to grant permission for segments of the show "Wife Swap" to be taped in the GMS cafeteria.
Board members Mike Dean, Jack Berry and Mark Kannowski considered school image as they discussed, during a special session Wednesday, the ramifications of allowing the taping during school hours. In the end, they voted unanimously to allow the project, with assurances from Superintendent Robert Green that the intent of the show would not be to make GMS or the food service program look bad.
The move is confirmation that Putnam County couple Jake and Debbie Zaring will be participating in the "Wife Swap" reality show on ABC. Rumors had been off-and-on-again about the project.
Debbie Zaring is an employee in the GMS cafeteria. Green said she has been approved for an unpaid leave of absence to participate in the show, which takes people from different backgrounds and relocates the wife into another household to see how she and the other family get along.
Dean and Kannowski said they had watched brief segments of the show in the past, and they are not fans of reality television, but they said they had no problem with what little content they had seen of the show.
"I think a blank screen is a lot more worthwhile," Kannowski said of reality TV in general.
Green said an ABC representative told him a television crew would need to film for two days at the school for about a half hour each day. They will be taping the "swapped" wife as she tries to do Zaring's job.
If any of the school staff or students are filmed, Green said, they will have to sign a waiver to be included in the broadcast.
The superintendent also clarified that the "swapped" wife will not be paid. Since she is a volunteer, no paperwork is needed.
Green did say he was concerned because the taping involves food service, but the person will be limited as to what she can do as far as food safety. A criminal background check will also be done. And, the TV show will make a small donation to the middle school.
The main concern, Green said, was that the taping would be distruptive to the instructional day. However, ABC assured him they would limit their activity to the cafeteria area, and they would keep the taping days confidential to avoid drawing a crowd of onlookers.
The public will not be allowed to watch the taping, Green said.
While the superintendent agreed he is not a fan of reality television either, he said he feels the "Wife Swap" show is harmless enough. He added that he feels Mrs. Zaring has a solid character and wouldn't be involved in anything that isn't above board.