Page Type: trope
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Rich and influential people normally have the money and influence to get their kids in the best spots, to get them the best jobs, and send them to the best schools. Yet, in fiction, whenever the plot is set in a school that seems to be populated mostly by middle-class kids, you will always find that one kid from a wealthy family among them.
There can be some explanations: Maybe the kid actually wants to see how the life of the common people is like, maybe they have been expelled from more exclusive schools, or maybe their parents got in financial trouble and needed to cut spending (with their kid's education being first), but in must cases this is rarely, if ever, explained, or even lampshaded. If the rich kid is the main character except a Fish out of Water situation while they try to adapt to their new environment. If not, then them to be a Spoiled Brat to serve as a foil and rival for the poorer but more likable protagonist, or a Lonely Rich Kid that the hero must help to come out of their shell.
- Cool-Kyou Shinsha has had three series starring rich heiresses attending public schools (and all three of them ending up in Uptown Girl romances):
- Justified in My Girlfriend Without Wasabi, where Rino attends a low level university due to her being a lazy student and her identity being kept a secret from the public until she becomes the family head.
- Kurume from RaButa attends a public high school without any real comment, though it's possible that the lack of any legal guardians (her parents died when she was in middle school) is why she never applied for a private one.
- Haru from Ojojojo transferred schools every couple of weeks ever since she was a child due to her Rich Bitch attitude alienating her from her classmates. Why she never attended a private school with her social peers (which would circumnavigate the problem) is never explained. Chris (the son of a British noble) transfers into the school later in the series, though he is at least justified by the fact that he specifically transferred in to try and get Haru to agree to an Arranged Marriage.
- While PK Academy of The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. is mentioned to be a small private school rather than a public one, neither the school nor the gaggle of students the story follows are mentioned to be particularly well off...except for Saiko Metori, heir to a ridiculously rich family, who constantly flaunts his wealth and sticks up his nose at the "commoners" surrounding him. His given reason for slumming it when he could obviously afford much better is that he intends to woo Teruhashi.
- Saya from Onidere is the daughter of a very wealthy CEO (enough so that she was able to personally commission a Kill Sat as a child), but she attends an ordinary public school.
- In Sword Art Online, Asuna is an ojou who ends up attending a special public school for kids who are SAO Survivors. Though in her case it's justified as the government enforced students like her to attend. It's actually invoked as Asuna's mother wants her to change to a better school, but Asuna refuses as she wishes to be with her friends.
- Seto Kaiba in Yu-Gi-Oh! is actually the president of one of the biggest gaming companies in the world. Yet he apparently goes to the same school as the protagonists. Although, after the first episode, it becomes a moot point.
- Veronica from Archie Comics, a rich girl who transfers in to a public school, and who often flaunts her family's wealth.
- Deconstructed in A Dance with Dragons. Varys and Illyrio (two very wealthy men) deliberately raised Prince Aegon Targaryen amongst the smallfolk and taught him practical skills (like fishing, mending clothes, and providing first aid) in the hopes this would make him a more empathetic, wise, and humble ruler. This not only didn't work, as Aegon is as entitled and foolish as any other Prince, but it appears to have actually handicapped him, as Aegon lacks experience in courtly life (and of those in it) and is easily manipulated.
- Varys: He has lived with fisherfolk, worked with his hands, swum in rivers and mended nets and learned to wash his own clothes at need. He can fish and cook and bind up a wound, he knows what it is like to be hungry, to be hunted, to be afraid.
- Le Petit Nicolas: Nicolas' classmate Geoffroy's father is rich, though we never know why his son goes to the same school as other middle-class children. Geoffroy also doesn't flaunt his wealth or gets particularly respected/bullied for it (the kids' parents are a different matter, being very much aware of how little they make compared to Geoffroy's family) and in some cases it even gets him into trouble, like when his father buys him a cowboy costume that he wears to class.
Film - Live Action
- Spider-Man: Harry Osborn, despite his dad being rich enough to be driven in a vintage Rolls Royce, goes to the same public high school as financially struggling Peter Parker. It's explicitly because Harry's been kicked out of every private school Norman could send him to.
- In Madam Secretary, Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord's son Jason finishes at a public high school after he's kicked out of Quaker school for breaking his bully's nose (and refusing to apologize for it).
- The Suite Life of Zack and Cody: London, the daughter of the extremely wealthy Wilfred Tipton. While she was originally in a Catholic School with Maddie, she was later transferred to a public school as it was the only school she'd not yet been expelled from. She continued going to public school when traveling on the S.S. Tipton, along with all the other students.
- Mega Man Battle Network and its anime has Yaito Ayanokouji, the only rich kid in Akihara Elementary School. She's also the daughter of the president of Gabcom.
- In Allen Gregory, the title character is a spoiled rich kid who's forced to attend a public elementary school after his family falls on hard times.
- Angela Anaconda had Nanette Manoir, Angela's Arch-Nemesis, who is a posh Daddy's Girl who dresses fashionably and gets chauffeured around in a limo.
- In Arthur, Muffy is the resident Alpha Bitch and Spoiled Brat who is the daughter of a business tycoon, meaning she lives in a mansion and has her own personal butler. Yet she still attends the same public school as the rest of the kids.
- In The Fairly Oddparents we have the cool kids. A group of four kids that are so wealthy that they can pay to have separate areas for them in school like a cool booth at the cafeteria, cool restrooms, and cool seats in the bus(which consists on a dance floor and a jacuzzi.)
- Hey Arnold! has Rhonda Lloyd, who is always flaunting her wealth and her parents are so rich that they considered a financial "crisis" having to sell a yacht to afford their honeymoon, yet she attends P.S.118 along the other kids.
- One episode introduced Lorenzo, an even richer kid that was transfered to the school. His debut centers around Arnold trying to help him to act more like a kid, since he spends most of his time acting like an adult.
- In Miraculous Ladybug we have both Chloe, who is the daughter of the Mayor, and Adrien, son of a fashion tycoon, but we are not given any indication that any other of the kids are that well off. They are also complete opposites since she is the Alpha Bitch, while he is Spoiled Sweet.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Diamond Tiara's family is very wealthy, but she still attends the same school as every other foal in Ponyville, likely because it's the only school in town.
- The Powerpuff Girls: Princess Morbucks is a rich Spoiled Brat who attends the same elementary school as the Powerpuff Girls and other normal students.
- In Tiny Toon Adventures, most of the "well to do" toons in ACME Acres attend Perfecto Prep, as all the students there appear to be rich, and quite snobbish. Montana Max, however, is an exception, as while he is just as rich and snobbish as the Perfectos (if not more so), he attends ACME Looniversity alongside Buster, Babs, and the other middle-class toons in ACME Acres.
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