And you can all hide behind your desks now!Has nothing to do with Cartesian Geometry. A student brings a weapon to school. They may not necessarily use it against anybody, but even then you can expect somebody's parents to panic about what could have happened. This plot will rarely last longer than a single Very Special Episode, and can focus on the incident, the following consequences, or a mix of each. Outside of characters designed to be antagonists, the person who brings the weapon is rarely a member of the core cast, since that would force the writers to either justify it in the audience's mind and/or come up with some way for them to get off scot-free. Unnamed background characters who attempt this are fair game for being caught and sent off to juvie, though. If they are a main character, expect for them to be gone from the show for a long time. Unfortunately, this can also be Truth in Television, as school shooting tragedies such as Columbine have proven — otherwise, schools wouldn't have metal detectors and X-ray scanners, and teachers wouldn't be issued kevlar vests. Of course, the real life portion of this is Older Than They Think; the Columbine incident in 1999 was simply one of a handful of shootings that earned national attention. In his book Brain Droppings, George Carlin refers to schoolyard deaths back in his childhood. See Also: Guns in Church.
And you can cry, "teacher come help me"!
Through you all, my aim is true!
And you can cry, "teacher come help me"!
Through you all, my aim is true!
— The Offspring, "Hammerhead"
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Anime & Manga
- Higurashi: When They Cry:
- In the Tsumigoroshi/Atonement arc, Ryuugu Rena brings a large billhook to school and rigs up an improvised explosive device for the purpose of holding the entire student body hostage. She did this to force the cooperation of the police, because they weren't taking her seriously when she tried telling them about an alien conspiracy to massacre the entire town. Seeing as up to that point the school had always been a safe haven from the gruesome events of the series, this is particularly shocking.
- Throughout the series, Mion carries her gun to school and it isn't questioned at all. Turns out it's just an airsoft pistol. Would you question her anyway?
- Subverted during the first arc, where Keiichi looks for a weapon he can carry around school without raising questions. He settles on a baseball bat.
- Full Metal Panic!:
- In the first issue, Sōsuke tries to bring his automatic sidearm to school on the first day. In public, without any attempt to hide it at all. Considering his background in the military, it's no wonder he doesn't see what the issue is. The teacher doing the bag check assumes it's a model, confiscating the thing and letting him off with a stern warning.
- He also had no problem dealing with some tampering with his shoe locker (who turned out to be a girl putting a typical "I love you, sempai!" kind of letter inside) by blowing up the whole damn shoe locker row with C-4 (he thought that the tamperer had left a booby-trap bomb behind, you see). What is even more funny/horrifying is that he successfully manages to convince the student council president that it was the right thing to do (although the president was pretty hard-core Cloud Cuckoolander and it was implied that MITHRIL had done quite a lot of bribing)... and he "met" the girl afterwards by stalking the meeting point with a sniper rifle. This is not the only type of explosive/firearms-related act of overkill that he does throughout the series.
- In the final episode of Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, Sōsuke orders a biowarfare agent from a military company and they send it to the school instead of his home address (to his credit, Sōsuke isn't happy and calls to complain). Then one of his classmates opens the thermos, exposing the entire school. Thankfully, after all the "We're gonna die!" drama, it turns out that the agent just dissolves synthetic clothing, but that's still not enough to spare Sōsuke from his classmates' wrath.
- Yuno Gasai, of Future Diary, has no problem carrying a multitude of weapons with her wherever she goes, including knives, boxcutters, axes, needles...basically anything sharp she can carry around with her. You would not believe the body count she's accumulated over the course of the series. Keep in mind that she's a middle-school-age girl doing it all out of love.
- Mahou Sensei Negima!:
- Mana Tatsumiya is frequently seen with a gun of some sort in class, at least in the anime. It's never treated as odd and all she ever does with it is sit cleaning it or occasionally aim it at people to scare them. It's unlikely she actually brings ammo to class since you'd not want to try to clean a loaded gun. In the manga, she hides the guns better, although Setsuna carries a sword around literally all the time. Justified as both Mana and Setsuna are on the school's payroll, protecting it from malignant magical entities.
- Setsuna hides hers in a long bag, so most people just assumes she has a shinai or bokutō used for Kendo practice. Mana, on the other hand, is on the Biathlon Club, so most people assume that the one visible gun is the airsoft rifle she uses there... And it's actually true, most of the time.
- Hiruma from Eyeshield 21 regularly brings guns to school, and gets away with it because he has dirt on the principal (and probably half of Japan, by the look of things).
- Angel Beats!, almost everyone with a name carries a weapon in school at some point (a school in the afterlife, but still).
- At the beginning of Mai-HiME, one of Haruka's complaints against Mai was that she brought a sword to school. It was actually Mikoto's.
- The story of Saitama Chainsaw Shoujo centers around the main character bringing her chainsaw to school... and using it on everybody.
- In Aphorism, which takes place in a high school, most of the cast has some form of weapon...that they use to fight against the various monstrous things trying to kill them during the "God's Blight"s. The weapons are stored as characters somewhere on their bodies when not in use. For example:
- The eponymous Assassination Classroom students use guns and knives on a daily basis to kill their teacher. The weapons used are harmless to humans, and the teacher is a Super Speed creature who intends to blow up the Earth after making the Moon a permanent crescent. As this teacher's only class is located in a satellite building very isolated from the rest of the school (and whose students stay in that campus region during the school day), it's entirely reasonable that only those students, the principal, and the specific teachers using that building know the weapons exist.
- In Blood-C, Saya brought her katana to school and no one including her teacher noticed it. Tadayoshi told her to bring it with her in case an Elder Bairns appear. Then in episode 8, she brought it again and they started to notice it.
- Pictured above: Gabriel DropOut with Satanichia's gun she bought in Hell's online store. In this case, this is downplayed, since the gun is actually non-lethal, and a shot can make its target to laugh uncontrollably for ten minutes. It did not go as Satanichia planned.
- Parodied in Nichijou by Misato, the so-called "gundere" who yanks military-grade firearms out of nowhere whenever she gets angry, i.e. at least once per appearance. Usually she fires them at a certain classmate, who she has a crush on. Anyone hit with her assault weapons receives Amusing Injuries, at worst, so whether they're real or all in her head isn't entirely clear.
- A gun being brought into Tim Drake's (a.k.a Robin's) school drives the plot of the 1993 one-shot Batman: Seduction of the Gun. It was also the subject of a storyline in the regular Robin title.
- In Ultimate Spider-Man, New Transfer Student Gwen Stacy sees Peter getting bullied and threatens the tormentors with a knife. She gets in deep trouble with the school for this, though she's soon allowed back in class after making an apology. (It helps that her dad's a police captain.) When her dad starts chewing her out for it, she shoots back that he never even bothered to ask her if she had justification.
- In the 2000s Spider-Man arc "Skin Deep", we see an incident from Peter's schooldays where a kid who got picked on even worse than him brought a knife to school for self-defence. When a teacher found it, Peter took the heat for him, claiming that it was his uncle's knife and he wanted to sharpen it in shop class as a "surprise". The present-day Peter, narrating, notes that the only reason he wasn't expelled was because the idea of a giant nerd like him wanting to knife someone was unbelievable.
"It was, you understand, a different world then."
- Transmetropolitan has a scene where Channon explains to Yelena that the first time she used a particular model of gun was to stop a classmate from raping a friend. While they were on the school bus. When Yelena meekly says that they checked for guns at her private school, Channon says, "So did mine. To make sure we had them."
- Warren Ellis wrote a story for Hellblazer called "Shoot" that suggested that the systemic problems of society contributed to the don't-care-if-they-live-or-die attitude of some school shooters... and their victims. It was scheduled to run after the Columbine shooting and pulled for obvious reasons; Ellis quit the title rather than make changes to the story the higher-ups demanded. It was finally published in its original form as a part of a Hellblazer anthology in 2014.
John Constantine: (reviewing a videotape of the shooting) He's drawn the gun. And none of these kids are running away. I see kids in a schoolyard in some dead-end hole of a town in some asshole county in some crumbling state with no education and no hope and no future and they're waiting. They're just standing there.
- Dogbert from Dilbert once worked as a substitute teacher in a public school, resulting in the line "Eugene! Release those hostages or I shall be forced to fling this chalk eraser at your head!"
- Doing It Right This Time: Asuka obtained three handguns for Shinji, Rei and herself. They carried them everywhere, including school, hidden in their outfits or handbags. Their guardian Misato did like not it, but Asuka argued that they needed extra protection, and if they could be trusted with a giant robot then they could be trusted with a gun.
- Shinji And Warhammer 40 K: Kensuke kept several dozens of bolter guns stored in his school's attic per Shinji's intructions in case his schoolmates needed to defend themselves. Although it sounds like a spectacularly bad idea, Shinji's foresight saved his schoolmates lives when Matarael's spawn invaded the city.
- In Master Potter of Kamar-Taj, Harry brings Dragonfang - a sentient sword carved from the tooth of an inter dimensional dragon - to school. When it is confiscated, Harry makes the argument that wands are equally as dangerous.
Harry: Sir, Dragonfang has been with me for over two years, and I've formed a bond with it. It's the only tie I have to home while I'm here. Please, I don't use it, it's just to have, like a paperweight in the shape of a gun.
Dumbledore: I'm sorry Harry, but it's a very dangerous weapon. It's not that I don't trust you, it's that I'm worried another student will be hurt by it, like Mr Weasley was when he found it.
Harry: Dangerous? The spells we fire from our wands can kill people, and you won't let me have a dagger?!
- The Key to a Successful Interview: Early on in the story, a news report mentions that a JSDF base was broken in and a fighter jet was stolen. Turns out, it was stolen by Shampoo, who took the fighter's 30mm cannon and uses it later to demolish Furinkan High with gunfire, trying to kill Girl!Ranma and giving absolutely zero shits about any people caught in the crossfire (although, miraculously, there were no fatalities). Later on the story, she becomes part of Ranma's group saying that Defeat Equals Friendship, but considering that she pulled off one of the most devastating In-Universe school shootings in Japanese history and is running around free and unpunished, it's quite understandable that all other characters remain quite wary of her.
- This Kannazuki no Miko doujin discusses this trope in light of the 2012 Sandy Hook School shooting.
- A literal example occurs in the Axis Powers Hetalia fanfiction Outcast. Administrators of the St. Hetalia Academy for Boys actually allow Denmark to bring his giant heirloom battleaxe to school — provided it's securely bolted to the wall of his dorm room and only ever used as a decoration. Of course, those precautions mean nothing when Denmark flies into a berserker rage and rips the bolts out of the wall when he tries to kill Sweden.
Films — Live-Action
- In The Breakfast Club, Brian is in detention for bringing a gun to school. The school found out he'd brought it when it went off in his locker. However, it was a flare gun, not an actual gun, which is part of the reason it went off prematurely. Brian is in detention not because of what he brought, but because the gun damaged the school's lockers when it went off.
- In Heathers, J.D. brings a revolver (loaded with blanks) to school and "shoots" two kids in the cafeteria. It gets Played for Laughs. Not to mention he wears a trench coat for the entire movie. Yeah... kind of says something about when the film was made. Of course, it also says something about its genre.
- In Storm, made in 1987, Booker threatens a fellow student at gunpoint, and none of the witnesses so much as tell a teacher. The gun was a water pistol loaded with ketchup, as the film predates the law requiring toy guns to look fake. A major plot point involves two main characters sneaking up and shooting each other with dart pistols every day.
- The original ending for Saved! called for Hilary Faye to snap, grab a rifle and shoot up her prom after she got expelled.
- In Parenthood, Kevin is at the top of a tower shooting at everyone in sight with an assault rifle in Gil's second Flash Forward to Kevin's college graduation.
- The protagonist of The Basketball Diaries has a dream where he sees himself wearing a trenchcoat and bringing a shotgun to shoot up most of his class, while his friends cheer him on.
- The climax of We Need to Talk About Kevin. This one doesn't end well.
- In Pygmy, the Teen Superspy Villain Protagonist takes down a fellow student who shoots up the Model United Nations meeting. The fallout from this incident, with Pygmy becoming a hero in the media and at school, causes him to start doubting his mission to destroy America.
- The protagonist of Rage first carries a pipe wrench to school before upgrading to a handgun.
- A rare version where the main character is caught with it in Circle of Magic. In the first book, the (recently) ex-Street Urchin Briar Moss is having a lot of trouble adjusting to his new school dormitory. When the other boys pick a fight with him, the fact that he pulls knives on them in self-defense means he's the one who gets kicked out.
"Whatever else, I want him out of here," the man holding Briar snapped. He shook the boy hard. "Knives have no place in a boys' dormitory!"
"Depends on the dormitory," muttered Briar.
- The titular university in Tales of MU has a weapons policy - that is to say, weapons are mandatory. It is a Wizarding School in a Dungeon Punk setting, and life on campus can get pretty dangerous.
- The plot of Moon Rising involves a dragonet setting off a bomb in the history class of Jade Mountain academy, and the protagonists trying to determine who was responsible.
- Happens on Smallville, where Lana tries to kill Chloe with an axe (and actually doesn't completely escape punishment, since the brawl got both of them suspended — she is under mind control, though). Also the Trope Namer. Of course, while going crazy and attempting to kill classmates is a big thing in most schools, for Smallville High it's... Tuesday.
- One episode of the The George Lopez Show had a student bring a gun to Max's school. The incident occurred offscreen, with the episode instead focusing on the psychological effects that the experience had on Max.
- 7th Heaven:
- In a benign version of this trope, the episode See You in September has Simon getting suspended from school for one day because his mother packed a knife with his lunch so that he could cut his chicken.
- Another usage of this trope, more along the lines of Very Special Episode, was when Simon discovered that one of his classmates planned on bringing a gun to school. The friend later claimed that he was kidding, but Simon nonetheless wrote a paper on the event, which he recited to the class, while at the same time said classmate opened his locker in front of a large amount of people, including Simon's parents, revealing that he had, indeed, brought a gun into the school.
- A two-part episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation has Rick, pushed past the brink, bringing a gun to school. The incident ends with Rick dying and Jimmy confined to a wheelchair.
- One episode of South of Nowhere has Spencer and Ashley skipping school while the others are forced into a day-long lockdown when a girl brings in a gun.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- In "Earshot", when Buffy gained the ability to read thoughts and discovered that someone was planning to kill everyone in the school. Cue Jonathan who is up on the abandoned clocktower putting together a high powered rifle to shoot himself with. Buffy stops him and he goes into therapy (whether he gets better is a matter of opinion, although he stops being suicidal). It turns out the would be mass murderer is the Evil Lunch Lady who is planning to poison the jello.
- Inverted in the first 3 seasons, school (the library, to be exact) was where most of Giles' weapons were kept. And there was even a fire axe in one of the hallways, which Buffy used a couple of times against monsters.
- Family Matters when Laura brings a gun to school for protection after she is threatened by Toni for testifying against her in a trial. Laura does not use her gun. However, Toni shoots her best friend Josie. Urkel, Laura, and the gang start a gun exchange program and Urkel does a rap about how bad guns are. At the end of the episode, the cast (out of character) comes together and does a Public Service Announcement about ending gun violence.
- This makes up the "Guns" half of the "Guns & Gossip" episode of My So-Called Life. Rickie's cousin brings a gun to school and it accidentally goes off. Brian gets a lot of unwanted attention (good and bad) because he's thought to be an eyewitness.
- The Flashpoint episode "Perfect Storm" deals with a teenager bringing a gun to school to take revenge on his tormentors.
- The Outer Limits (1995):
- The episode "Abduction", five high school kids are abducted by an alien. They eventually find out that the alien chose them because one of them brought a gun to school and was planning to shoot the other four.
- "Final Exam" took this trope Up to Eleven; the antagonist brought a nuclear bomb to school.
- An episode of One Tree Hill has a character bring a gun to school. He ends up dead by the end of it, as does Keith Scott at the hands of his brother Dan, which was made to look like the shooter did it.
- In Fargo, Lester does this as art of his plan to frame his brother. He plants a gun in his nephew Gordo's backpack. When the gun is discovered at school, this causes the police to search the house, finding the evidence Lester planted.
- An episode of The Dead Zone revolved around John Smith having a psychic vision of a future shooting, and community spiraling out of control in a self-induced panic. The only gun to actually make it on campus is the one held by the security guard, with tragic results.
- Danger 5. Played for Laughs in the episode "Johnny Hitler", where Danger 5 go undercover on a school campus. Jackson is about to shoot the Big Bad when the principal confiscates his pistol and gives him detention.
- The Wire has a dramatic moment in Mr. Pryzbylewski's middle school classroom when a disturbed girl, fed up with teasing, abruptly stands up, whips out a box cutter, and cuts two deep slashes into another girl's face. What really bothers Mr. Pryzbylewski is that after the heat of the moment, none of his other inner-city students seems to be at all traumatized. In fact, it's routine for them to bring weapons to school, although they generally conceal them somewhere outside rather than smuggle them into the building.
- Technically didn't bring a gun to school, but initiated a sniper attack on a school from her house across the street: Brenda Ann Spencer, whose shooting spree inspired the Boomtown Rats' piano-based ballad "I Don't Like Mondays". The song title was her actual reason given.
- In Wheatus' "Teenage Dirtbag":
Her boyfriend's a dick
He brings a gun to school
- Kelly Rowland's "Stole" is about the lead up to and aftermath of such a shooting:
He's not invisible anymore
With his father's 9 and a broken fuse
Since he walked through that classroom door
He's all over primetime news
- Generally thought to be the subject of Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks," another massive case of Lyrical Dissonance. The only unclear thing if it's the narrator is actually shooting others or all is in in his head.
- Pearl Jam song "Jeremy" is about this. Lead singer Eddie Vedder has said in interviews that this song was about two separate, real-life incidents, one from his Middle School and another from a newspaper article. The music video for the song clarifies this further.
- The Tomato Surprise in The Offspring's "Hammerhead" shows the song is about one of those.
- Megadeth's "Have Cool, Will Travel" is both about school shootings and the inevitable ensuing media blowout:
Mamas pack their lunches, kiddies pack their guns
Wishing it will go away, but nothing's getting done
A shot heard 'round the world, when a mother's baby dies
We the people point our fingers, blame and wonder why
- "Sick of It All" by The Distillers:
I went to school today with an Uzi
There's this kid, he teased me
So I shot him in the face
- "The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun!" by Julie Brown. Played for Laughs, 'cause it was 1983 and the past is a foreign country.
- "I.G.W.T." by Derek Minor feat. Thi'sl
High schools got armed guards'Cause teenagers bear armsAnd they'd crack your headPut that video on WorldstarThat boy you callin' a nerd?Got a bomb off in his backpack
- "Teenagers" by My Chemical Romance
- In the video for Aerosmith's "Livin' On The Edge", a high school kid gets into a fight with another guy in the cafeteria and reaches into his backpack and it looks like he is going to take out a handgun he brought but instead he takes out a sandwich.
- In the original Persona game, the character Masao ("Mark" in the PS1 English version) Inaba starts off wielding a very large axe in the first battle in the hospital. Since he traveled directly to the hospital from school, the only explanation as to how he has one is that he brought it with him to school and kept it in his backpack; this just begs the question as to WHY he would bring an axe to school.
- In the Mana Khemia series, everybody brings weapons to school, as the monster-infested dungeons are part of the school grounds. Using alchemy to create new weapons is a basic homework assignment as far as they're concerned.
- Max from Life Is Strange discovers her Time Travel powers after classmate Nathan Prescott pulls a gun on a girl in a school bathroom. Since her only evidence is hearsay, the teachers don't take her claims seriously until a student he bullied tries to kill herself. The fact that the Prescotts are incredibly wealthy and Nathan's in cahoots with one of the teachers helps too, of course.
- The protagonist of Yandere Simulator can use a variety of weapons at school to kill and injure her fellow classmates, in particular her romantic rivals. The baffling part is that most of these weapons are already at school as tools for certain club members to use (a knife in the cooking club, axes and saws in the gardening club, etc.). If students see her carrying a weapon (except for a few like scissors), they will be suspicious and her reputation will decrease, unless she is a member of the club the weapon is associated with.
- Killroy And Tina has a student try to shoot his teacher. Tina saves the day with a discreet Bullet Catch (the students think it's a misfire) and the kid... goes to jail and becomes an Axe-Crazy Stalker with a Crush. If the series hadn't been Orphaned, it might have even gone somewhere.
- In Mitadake Saga, the Boy with Sunglasses is carrying an axe as a weapon. Apparently, he was working with the teacher to unconver Kira's identity, and realized just what it meant when the school went under lockdown.
- Subverted in MSF High: Because nobody can die for real, it's quite common for people to get into fights with bombs in the hallway. Rainer, in fact, first dies when he stops talking with a monologue-length bomb. It's explored more in the forum RP, where the general rule is "Please at least CHALLENGE the guy first!"
- A Static Shock episode had a kid not only bring a gun to school, but accidentally shoot the main character's best friend, Richie, in the leg after he gets tackled by the bullies he wanted to shoot. It's fairly Anvilicious in that Richie then yells about how painful it is and that its not cool or fun like it seems on TV. Although it's fair to say that getting shot is pretty painful and considerably uncool.
- The Simpsons:
- Played for Laughs when Principal Skinner says on the morning announcements "I hope you all brought your implements of destruction." Every child in the class reaches into their desks and pulls out axes, hammers, baseball bats, and so on; Bart has a BFG and is dressed like Rambo, and Nelson has a flamethrower. Skinner then gives the order to "Trash this dump!" Cut to all the children cheerfully destroying the school. It was All Just a Dream for Bart, a very happy dream.
- When Bart is sent to a military boarding school, the first thing he's given at a firing range is a grenade launcher.
Since you've already attended public school, we're assuming you've already had experience with small arms. note
- The Classic Disney Short "Teachers Are People", where a kid is asked to empty his pockets, the contents of which include guns, crossbows, even a live grenade. This was back in The '50s, where the thought of a heavily armed kid was so absurd to be laughable.
- In Johnny Test, the titular character brings nunchucks to school to beat the school bully. They get confiscated by the principal.
- In King of the Hill, Hank becomes the substitute shop teacher. Because the school is low on money, he encourages students to bring tools from home. Bobby is caught with a saw and suspended.
Hank: Using a saw as a weapon makes about as much sense as using a pistol to cut a two by four. Which is how my dad made my treehouse. And cleaned it.
- Played for Laughs in an early episode of Duckman when he goes to visit Ajax's high school, which has put up metal detectors to catch students trying to smuggle in weapons. It doesn't work too well, since literally every student walking into the building is openly armed to the teeth with everything from rifles to rocket launchers, and the detector doesn't go off until Duckman tries to walk through with a metal lunchbox, which is immediately confiscated and shot to pieces by security. A later episode shows that the urban decay of the school has been mostly cleaned up... thanks to the school now being sponsored by Smith And Wesson.
- In the episode of My Life as a Teenage Robot about Jenny going to school for the first time, she opens herself up to show the many different devices inside of her and the principal points out she could get in trouble for bringing weapons to school. Brad convinces him to let it go on the condition that Jenny keeps them all disabled when she's on school grounds. Despite this, plenty of other episodes have her drawing weapons in school without consequence.
- An instructional video about school dress codes shows how easy it is to hide 10+ different pistols, an Uzi and a hunting shotgun in baggy jeans and a large T-shirt. When one considers that a potential school shooter must actually be able to walk around and sit down normally before unleashing this much dakka, it becomes hard not to laugh at how much counterproductive effort they put into emphasizing their point.
- The Other Wiki has an entire list of school shootings and attacks.
- Bringing guns to school used to be fairly common in some parts of the USA. They'd be put in a locker so that students could hunt on their way home.