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Absurdly Powerful School Jurisdiction

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A sting operation organized to bust a student. Off school grounds. On a Sunday. Involving automatic weapons.

You are a student at your local school. Once school lets out for the day and you're miles away from the school property, you get involved in a "misunderstanding". Perhaps you partake in a Zany Scheme, enact a Practical Joke, or you have to fight The Bully. When you return to school, you're shocked to learn that you're being punished for those offenses you committed off school grounds and outside of school hours.

Depending on the school, this can be Truth in Television. Some laws allow it, and certain schools (particularly those with recognizable uniforms, boarding schools, religious schools, and/or private schools) want to protect their reputations.

A Sub-Trope of Artistic License – Education, which includes any instance of school staff exerting authority they shouldn't have, whether it be on school grounds or outside of it. May overlap with Jurisdiction Friction. If student(s) are punished for the actions of a family member or an acquaintance, it could also overlap with I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure or Revenge by Proxy. Compare Absurdly Powerful Student Council, where the student leaders of the school have more power than they should. More or less the school version of There Is No Higher Court.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: In episode 10, Ichigo and Rukia are grabbed by security when they tried to interfere with one of Don Kanonji's public exorcisms off-campus. In episode 11 it's revealed that their actions were captured on film and they and the other students who were there are called before the school administration for possible disciplinary action.
  • Citrus takes place at a prestigious private school, Aihara Academy. After Mei, the Student Council President, notices that her stepsister Yuzu got home late, Yuzu and her friend Harumi get assigned cleaning duty as punishment for making stops on the way home.
  • One arc of No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular! centered on Tomoko and Masaki being punished at school for riding an electric scooter home, even though they didn't drive it on school grounds (this is actually Truth in Television in Japan for students wearing their uniforms off-campus, which those two were.)
  • Wedding Peach: In the anime, a Sadist Teacher named Iwamoto (actually a devil in disguise) comes to power in the heroines' school and sets up strict rules. Not only is student behavior controlled inside school but outside school as well. In fact, he even follows Momoko, Yuri, Hinagiku and their male friends to a ski resort to enforce his edict about boys and girls not meeting or talking with each other.
  • Witch Watch: Nico and several others need special permission from their high school to stay at Morihito's house, which a student councilor threatens to revoke if any of them fail an exam.
  • Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches: Once the Absurdly Powerful Student Council ban kissing at the school, Odagiri thinks that Yamada can get away with it by kissing Shiraishi outside of the school grounds. But this is not possible - Asuka follows Yamada and Shiraishi and prevents them from kissing. The council also establishes a rule that normal students can't visit suspended students in their private homes.

     Fan Works 
  • In A.A. Pessimal's family saga of the Discworld, Strandpiel, the Assassins' Guild School takes great care to protect its public reputation. When three of its students are brought back with a City Watch escort, following a street fight, Guild Master Lord Downey is not amused and takes sanctions on the evildoers. He has to demonstrate to the City Watch that he is going to deal with the situation appropriately under Guild law and custom. Downey is therefore not amused.

    Film — Live Action 
  • In the movie Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, a school faculty makes the decision to expel any student caught associating with Elvira.
  • The 2008 Lifetime movie Fab Five: The Texas Cheerleader Scandal has the eponymous cheerleaders heading into an adult boutique and novelty store where they take photos of themselves messing around and trying out the merchandise inside. They end up posting these pictures on MySpace later; and get punished with a school suspension. Justified because these cheerleaders are in uniform during their escapade and are therefore representing, er, misrepresenting the school.
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off: Principal Rooney scours the city looking for Ferris Bueller to punish him, despite the fact that (in this case) he does have an excused absence according to his parents, thus meaning there should be nothing Rooney can do.
  • In Revenge of the Nerds the municipal police have zero authority on Adams College campus. It's implied the school is so powerful that the local police leaves it completely alone.
  • Convinced that rock and roll and especially the Ramones are the source of truancy and hooliganism, Principal Togar of Rock 'n' Roll High School tries to ban student attendance at their concert.

  • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Professor Umbridge bans Harry and the Weasley twins from playing Quidditch for life after they get into a fight with Malfoy and his cronies on the pitch, and confiscates their brooms. Though as Ginny points out, in practice the ban will only last as long as Umbridge is at the school, which is proven true the following year. Also, a lifetime ban would most likely be a matter for the Department of Magical Games and Sports, of which Umbridge is not a member.

     Live-Action TV 
  • Blue Bloods: Subverted in "Devil's Breath". At first Erin's daughter Nicky tries to organize a sit-in to protest her school's policy of being able to search lockers at any time regardless of the student's consent. At the end of the episode she changes it to a mass protest after school hours and across the street. The principal threatens to suspend the whole group but Erin forces her to back down by pointing out that such a protest is, in fact, protected under the First Amendment.
  • Teachers (2016) does a variation with a teacher being punished. Ms. Snap sends out an inappropriate tweet and is suspended for three days. The other teachers end up crusading for her right to a life outside of school.

    Video Games 
  • The Simpsons Hit & Run: One mission has Bart get his toy laser gun confiscated by Principal Skinner, on the grounds that "Laser guns are not permitted on school property." However, this interaction takes place both off school property and outside of school hours, meaning Skinner has no authority to take the gun.
  • Possible to exploit this in Yandere Simulator: if Yandere-chan can get proof of someone committing some sort of infraction or an act that would embarrass the school, she can then turn it into the school counselor in order to eventually get the student expelled for being a troublemaker. In the alpha builds Info-chan gives her a video of Kokona selling her used panties to boys.

    Web Video 
  • Weird school rules in Hong Kong:
    • Several of the titular "weird school rules" featured in the series include forbidding students from doing even innocuous things outside of the campus while wearing their school uniform, such as using their phone. In that skit, a teacher catches a student breaking the rules and records down her name (most likely in case of future punishment), but karma comes in to collect her debt just minutes later.
    • According to an Episode 17 skit, some schools required the students' parents to check their children's WhatsApp every day to see if they ever went out with their classmates.

    Western Animation 
  • Fairly OddParents: Truant Officer Shallowgrave chasing down Timmy and an aged down Adam West, despite the fact Adam is normally an adult and thus wouldn't have been enrolled in Dimmsdale Elementary. Said truant officer is also a Psycho for Hire Bounty Hunter who uses excessive force and has to be reminded he isn't allowed to do anything lethal to the kids. Ultimately justified because of Rule of Funny and Shallow Grave being fired at the end when Timmy stages it to look like he had been with an adult the whole time (which he technically was, just one that was in the body of a kid), implying there are at least some limitations of school jurisdiction.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: A flashback in the episode "Derision" has Chloé commanding Mr. Damocles to punish Marinette's friend Socqueline for breaking her phone (because Chloé was using it to record an embarrassing video of Marinette) even though at the time they were outside of school grounds and it didn't happen during school hours, and Mr. Damocles himself points out that he has no authority to punish a student for what they do outside of his jurisdiction. But he relents and reluctantly suspends Socqueline anyway after Chloé threatens to get her father the mayor involved.
  • The Simpsons: In "Bart's Girlfriend" Bart uses a balloon to pull up Groundskeeper Willie's kilt during a "Scotchtoberfest" event and immediately gets busted by Principal Skinner who was using the phony "Scotchoberfest" as a sting operation to entrap Bart, despite the sting operation clearly taking place off school grounds and on a Sunday. He's forced to serve detention for it.
  • A 1959 Walter Lantz cartoon "Truant Student" has a plot similar to the above Fairly Oddparents episode, played for the Rule of Funny. Starring a bear named Windy and his son Breezy, Windy gets mistaken for a student by the local truant officer. The overzealous officer pursues Windy throughout the short and even goes as far as punish the defiant bear by sticking him inside the school bell and then ringing it!

    Real Life 
  • In some US states and localities, "nexus" laws are in effect, allowing schools to punish students for any infractions going to or coming from school. For the purposes of certain crimes (like fighting or drug offenses), some state laws decree the jurisdiction of the school extends to within a certain radius (such as 1000 feet) of the school premises.
  • Many boarding schools as well as private and parochial schools often will punish students for behavior outside of school and not just for discipline reasons. Many of them have reputations to protect. Religious schools expect students to uphold the tenets of that school's faith. Getting a bad reputation (through misbehavior of its students) could lead to parents pulling existing students from the school and prospective students reconsidering enrollment.
    • In the USA, the Kentucky state court decision Gott vs. Berea College has been used as a legal precedent. This court decision held that a private school or university has the authority to enforce stricter rules on its student body as when a student enrolls, obeying said rules is part of the contract for admissions.
    • This can also apply in the UK, The Commonwealth and other places where school uniforms are the norm (such as Japan) since students who are out and about in uniform are immediately recognisable as being from that school.
  • This trope isn't limited to primary and secondary schools. Some higher learning institutions are known to have considerable power. One example is Bob Jones University of South Carolina. Many hefty strings are attached to the lifestyles of students, such as dress codes and social behavior. In fact, the students are actually barred from listening to contemporary music or even going to movie theaters; this is actually specified in the campus code of conduct.
  • Pensacola Christian College has tougher regulations. In addition to many of the above listed rules, mixed-gender social interactions off-campus are not allowed without advance permission...and a chaperone! Their rules even apply when the students are at home or away on school break. Informants are used to identify and report student misbehavior.
  • Some schools have prohibited students from using social media or keeping blogs, even outside of school hours and on their home computers. The legality of such rules has been disputed.
  • Medieval universities in Europe during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries held considerable power over their students outside of the campus. For example, rectors in Bologna prohibited students from patronizing gambling establishments and moneylenders. Oxford banned students from keeping bears and falcons in their campus quarters and prohibited them from consorting with prostitutes.
    • As universities were considered part of the Church, students were to be tried in Church courts for any offense they did, which often created tensions with local authorities.
  • In the nineteenth century, Princeton and Harvard administrators created a blacklist among the nation's colleges to prevent habitual troublemakers from enrolling elsewhere. A fair number of colleges in the USA did abide by this blacklist.
    • In post-Napoleonian Germany, per the Carlsbad Decrees, lists of "troublemaker" students and teachers (read: liberals) were drawn to prevent them from registering in any university in the German Confederation.
  • Many colleges in the USA through the nineteenth century up until the 1960s had in loco parentis powers over students, including what they could and couldn't do off-campus. While enforceable at isolated, rural colleges, this power over students was trickier to enforce at urban and commuter colleges, and there was a definite Double Standard; most of the rules for men were loosened if not eliminated after World War II with an influx of combat veterans well into their 20s attending under the GI Bill, while the ones governing "girls" continued until second-wave feminism led to their repeal in the mid/late '60s. It was the 1961 US federal court decision Dixon vs. Alabama that weakened parentis powers, ruling that college students couldn't be expelled without due process.
  • In the UK, school students can be punished as the school sees fit for virtually anything that the school decides they can be punished for, whether it takes place on school grounds or not, with very little that either the child or even their parents can do about it.