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Absurdly Powerful Student Council
aka: Student Council

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"Each student government possesses decision-making powers that outrank those of the board of directors, the PTA, and the faculty. It's a democracy of youth."

In real life, power in any American and Canadian school is in the hands of the principal, the faculty, and the school district. And of course, each school is subordinate to the power of state and federal courts. In England and Wales, it lies with the Headteacher, the Board of Governors, and the Local Education Authority. Other jurisdictions, including Scotland, may have their own arrangements. However, in order to create the illusion of students having power over their lives, student councils are forged. In truth, these groups are largely figurehead posts: the only power they have is superficial. The actual election of these groups is basically one big popularity contest, and the only benefit is a student council checkmark on your college application under "extracurricular activities" and an extra picture in the yearbook.

In fiction, a student council is Serious Business, with power worthy of corruption and abuse in the hands of those with evil in their hearts. Council members have unparalleled freedom — they do as they please on campus, invent arbitrary rules that punish the masses, and give themselves and their allies special privileges. No member of the staff dare rebuke them. In fact, the staff may rarely appear at all (see Two-Teacher School). Occasionally, their power will be checked by others, such as the School Newspaper Newshound. In the event that the student council is not corrupt and seeks to use their powers for good rather than evil, their rival will be the actual school administration, who will often butt heads with the council over the administration's own corruption/tyranny.

One thing that may or may not overlap with this trope is how the Yearbook Committee seems to have supreme power over the yearbook's content, despite the fact that in Real Life schools, administration would step in so that the students in danger of being hurt by the pictures would be out of harm's way.

Naturally, led by the Student Council President. If the student council is not only powerful but more powerful than the adults, then they have a Teenage Wasteland.

Note that in Japanese schools, this is an exaggeration of Truth in Television, as the Student Councils actually do have power over the approval and funding of student clubs. School Clubs Are Serious Business is a real thing in Japan, as they're meant to prepare students for the high-pressure work environment into which they'll eventually be dumped, and students are strongly encouraged to join at least one club. And just like in their future jobs, students are expected to show utmost loyalty to their club: once you join, you're there until you graduate. Are you starting to see the clout Student Council can hold? (More details in the Real Life section below.)

This ranks low on the authority trope. For the other lower steps, see Club President and Class Representative. For the enforcers, see Yellow Sash of Power. For the next step up, see Student Council President. If student council has to be renewed, expect elections to be as absurdly serious as student council power, but the reverse is not always true: elections can go to ridiculous lengths for a powerless student council.

They may be called on to settle, moderate, or be the instigators of an Intra-Scholastic Rivalry.

It also isn't exclusive to councils. For example, since a lot of works use a Two-Teacher School, cheer-leading is usually run by the head cheerleader, when in real life, there would be a coach that comes up with the routines and decides who is on the squad.

Might be part of an Absurdly Powerful School Jurisdiction.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Ai Ore! Love Me!: Somehow, the school council can keep a student held hostage, in a cage too, until the local male school gets a better reputation.
  • Angel Beats!: Turned on its head. Since the show is set to an equivalent of Purgatory, the Student Council represents subordinates of the Creator of said world. One of the female lead actually forms a rival organization to battle said student council. The catch? Besides the Student Council President, most of the members of the Student Council are non-humans (referred to as NPCs, placeholders of human beings who are mostly completely apathetic and oblivious to whatever zaniness occurs near them). Also, since they are simply dedicated to preserving order (which the rival organization always try to subvert), they don't do much around the school.
  • Anime-Gataris: The student council is shown to be always looking to take down the little anime club to the point they can on a whim order their disbandment or demand they prove their worth. Minoa at one time even regards their power to that of an anime production comittee.
  • Armed Girl's Machiavellism:
    • Justified. The Supreme Five Swords (how the students' council is called at the Private Aiichi Symbiosis Academy) have a lot of power, including the right to carry swords on campus... Because the headmistress is under orders to allow it, as the owner finds it convenient for reasons so far unknown. It's shown that while the normal teachers don't dare to interfere with their antics the Supreme Five Swords know who is actually in charge, as the one time the headmistress decides to punish their president and another one they just take the punishment. In a variation, it's stated early on they're actually supposed to be the Disciplinary Committee, that after Aiichi became co-ed ended up taking up the students' council's duties alongside rule enforcement... meaning that there may be an actual yet powerless students' council somewhere.
    • Hokkai, Aiichi's twin school, has the Six King Swords to fulfill this trope... By being the best fighters in the school (it's possible to enter the Six Kings or even become their leader by defeating the incumbent, as the current leader Nonomura and his predecessor both did). The school's owner is the same as Aiichi (and Nonomura's sword teacher), explaining the very similar system.
  • Beelzebub: St. Ishiyama Academy has the Six Knights, who use to have absolute authority over the student body, even over the actual student council. At Ishiyama High, there is no "official" student council. Instead, the "council" is the Tohoshinki, the four strongest delinquents of the entire school. Oga later on became the "Student Council President" when he defeated all four, making him the strongest delinquent at Ishiyama High.
  • Best Student Council: This is the premise of the show. The eponymous student council has military, law enforcement, and intelligence/ninja divisions, and is hand-picked by its president, Jinguuji Kanade, for reasons that she mostly keeps to herself. President Kanade believes in not restricting the freedom of the students, which limits the near-absolute control the council could otherwise exert. Part of the island split to reveal a missile silo aimed at a nuclear aircraft carrier in episode two just because a guy on the carrier annoyed the president.
  • The one-shot yaoi manga Bondage is about this. A male student constantly breaks the school rules about smoking and fighting and is... punished for it every time by the two (male) student council members.
  • Cardfight!! Vanguard: The Miyagi Academy High-school division student council has the power to approve the formation of school clubs (we are not told what other authorities they have). At first it starts out reasonable, with them telling Aichi who wants to start a Vanguard Club that he needs a minimum amount of members and a consulting teacher, but when Aichi and his friends meet those goals, the student council starts Moving the Goalposts demanding more and more crazy things from them or even sending other clubs to crush them, all because they don't want a cardgame-focused club in their academically-focused elite college prep school; even though they found out that some universities offer Vanguand courses and that it's a legitimate career when they researched the game after Aichi put in his request. Nobody ever attempts to stop them or reign them in.
  • Cat Paradise: Another example of the student council using their absolute powers for good, where its members join forces with their cat familiars to fight the minions of an Eldritch Abomination to prevent it from being released and sparing mankind from its ancient wrath.
  • Charlotte: Nao mentions that the Hoshinoumi Academy student council has special privileges which allow them to skip classes and not get penalized for it, due to the fact that they often have to go off-campus to find people with special powers.
  • Clamp School Detectives: This series has absurdly powerful student councils for each grade division, leading to (say) the chairman of the Elementary Division Council (Nokoru) consulting with the chairlady of the Kindergarten Division Council (Utako) over plans for festivals that shut down all actual schoolwork through to the University level for weeks.
  • Code Geass: Ashford Academy is owned by a former noble family that built the first Humongous Mecha, and the head's granddaughter is the Student Council President; this means that the average students are subject to her playful whims like Complete Silence Parties and the Crossdressing Festival. And this all is before we get into the School Festival where they use a decommissioned mecha to try and make the world's largest pizza.
  • Cute High Earth Defense Club Love: Remember that bit about how vitally important school clubs are in Japan? The Student Council in the manga shuts them down at seemingly random, and one of the plot threads deals with their ongoing efforts against the Earth Defense Club, which they loathe (the titular Bouei-bu). Their Student Council President, Kinshirou Kusatsu, tears into anyone he even suspects of breaking rules. They also get hefty privileges - Custom Uniforms, a fancy office, even a fancy table of their own in the cafeteria. And did we mention they're also trying to Take Over the World, and are the main opponents of the Magical Boys in the Defense Club?
  • Dance in the Vampire Bund: Definitely the case of the high school — Mina is the one who founded the school and takes it over. Much to the anger of the current student council president. Also fairly well justified, as Mina founded the school with very controversial plans for it. This way, instead of having to deal with continual resistance from the student body, clubs and student council, parents, teachers, the school board, news services, and the general public, she only has to deal with a student council used to suppress all the other groups and which already consists of the strongest-minded and most politically active students. They'd have been manageable even without the way things turned out.
  • Dear Brother has the Sorority, a group of girls from rich and powerful families who are seen as the best of the best and have lots of privileges, alongside being adored by the students. The main conflict begins when a girl from a middle-class background, the protagonist Nanako Misonoo, is somehow chosen to be a member of it, eliciting the anger and envy of many others.
  • Food Wars!: The Elite Ten, who make all the important decisions of Totsuki Culinary Academy and hold higher authority than the teachers and the deans themselves, causing a change of power with just a majority vote. The Elite Ten are approached for consultations and advice by much of the culinary world and have access to recipe collections, ingredients and cooking equipment of near-immeasurable value. A seat on the Elite Ten is considered to be more valuable than a place at the school, meaning that those who wish to challenge the Elite Ten to a Shokugeki have to bet more than just expulsion.
  • Fruits Basket: The council that Yuki ends up becoming president of doesn't seem to be especially powerful, though they seem to be a large part of the preparations for at least one school festival. Rather, the student council seems to be more of a gathering of most of the people least suited to be a part of the group. This is lampshaded several times by the author, usually by way of Kakeru, who continually views the council as some Super Sentai-esque superhero team and spreads word around the school that the council will do all sorts of things for events which they don't have the power to do (the last one causes Yuki no end of trouble, leading him to cheerfully strangle Kakeru while saying "So it was you, you bastard!").
  • Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu: Handwaved when a teacher goes to the principal because he thinks the student council is getting too much authority, and she decides not to interfere—not because she's afraid of them (as would be typical of this trope) but simply because she doesn't want the students to feel inadequate and, well, like a real student council. (The hefty donations the school has received from Mithril have nothing to do with her decision.)
  • The page image comes from a two chapter hentai called Fudotei Student Academy, the events depicted above prove to be somewhat exaggerated but they apparently do have the authority to dictate weather or not the school's air conditioning can be used and the president is able to make her crush join the council on a whim (no points for guessing why).
  • Girls und Panzer: The student council not only control the schools' funding but negotiate on an equal level with the national education authorities and can threaten to expel our heroine, Miho, for not taking up tankery as her elective It's actually revealed that they weren't threatening to expel Miho, they were using Exact Words to make it sound like they were because if they didn't win the tankery championship the school would be shut down. In the spin-off manga Motto Love Love Sakusen Desu, it is even revealed they get to decide where the massive school-ship Ooarai Girls' Academy floats on gets to go. They sail southwards for Christmas. In the finale, it is revealed that student council members are graduating from high school... only for the council president Anzu to be the chairman of Ooarai, implying that she wrestled power from the previous chairman who was implied to be financially corrupt.
  • Hana-Kimi: The student heads of the three school dormitories have the combined power to veto a school authority's decision. They are also fully responsible for the conduct of their juniors and fellow classmates of the respective dormitories that they are in charge of.
  • Boys over Flowers: The student council consists of 4 self-proclaimed gods of the school: Tsukasa, Rui, Akira, and Soujirou. They pay off the school to allow them to get away with ANYTHING, including publicly humiliating students they don't like. In fact, the whole plot was kicked off when the Naïve Newcomer Tsukushi refused to take their crap, kicked the fuck outta Tsukasa, and got him to be attracted to her for that.
  • Happy Seven: The student council president happens to be the Big Bad's henchman.
  • Haunted Junction: Subverted. The Student Council President can summon and command the school principal (who is a ghost) via a magic amulet... but is kept so busy with ghost-hunting in general that he has no time to attend classes or interact with the other students at all, much less wield authority over them.
  • Hayate × Blade: The Council consists of the school's best Sword Bearers, who decide what exactly goes on within the school; Student Council President Hitsugi can do almost anything she wants, including the spontaneous creation of rules, for reasons not much more complicated than her own amusement.
  • El-Hazard: The Magnificent World begins with an investigation into corruption from the council president. The whole thing is treated with huge gravitas and seriousness. This plot kind of ends once the main character becomes Trapped in Another World.
  • Hyakko: The student council takes care of a lot of policies as the administration takes more of a "hands-off" approach.
  • Igano Kabamaru: Meijima is the Student Council head of Kin'gyoku. His family is an absurdly large conglomerate with business ties all over the country and Meijima himself lives in a Big Fancy House and has many servants and valets. He also uses his finances to fued with rival school Ōgyoku.
  • Infinite Ryvius: Justified. All of the adults die early on, so the Zwei elite class decides to take on the leadership role.
  • K-On!: While the student council at Sakuragaoka seems to have normal levels of power, the perception is certainly referred to.
    • In the anime, when it's discovered that the Light Music Club isn't officially recognized, Ritsu thinks it's a sinister plot to drive weak clubs into being disbanded. Ritsu forgot to fill out and send in a club activities application form, being distracted by Tsumugi's cake.
    • In one chapter of the manga, we learn that Nodoka is to be the next Student Council President. The post-chapter sketches have Yamanaka-sensei asking her for a raise, and the principal asks for a part in the series.
    • When Nodoka and all the older LMC members are in the same class for third year, Ritsu suspects Nodoka of pulling strings. It was Yamanaka-sensei.
    • When the LMC discovers that the student council's room has an air conditioner while they don't, they think it's an abuse of power. Any club that applies for it can have one installed. She said so at a club presidents' meeting... that Ritsu forgot to attend.
  • Kakegurui: The student council manages to establish a caste system based around gambling that requires students to pay them exorbitant amounts of money, forces students into slavery and arranged marriages, and one member of the student council even gets to freely carry a gun around campus (partially because most people assume it's a model).
  • Kami To Sengoku Seitokai: Played straight — most of the early part of the manga revolves around a search for a replacement for the vacant slot of Student Council President.
  • Parodied in Karin with the three student council presidents of Ren's boarding school.
  • Kill la Kill exaggerates this to hell and back; Honnouji's student council has created a straight-up fascist state and has the power to annex other schools and execute students, with even the principal being little more than a figurehead. As crazy as this sounds, this is actually more plausible than it seems considering the school is owned by the incredibly wealthy and powerful Kiryuin family, with daughter Satsuki at the head of the student council and her mother Ragyo willing to enable her daughter's project. The school is also a Life Fiber research and development facility that cranks out superpowered uniforms, which they use to control the student body and the faculty. Satsuki herself is pretty open with how the school is run by Might Makes Right and is emulating a military. The glimpses we see of other schools resisting Honnouji's imperialist ambitions suggests Satsuki is only slightly more powerful than the usual student council president. Her most dangerous rival, Kaneo Takarada of Naniwa Kinman High School, controls the local economy of Osaka with his family's personal scrip and bankrolls its citizens as reserves to his school's own student military. And that's not getting into his intelligence network of gossipy Osaka grannies, or the Powered Armor.
  • Knight Hunters: Weiß Kreuz Gluhen: Subverted. Koua Academy seems to have an Absurdly Powerful Student Council in the form of "S Class," an elite group of students who, led by Enfant Terrible Toudou, get away with murder and at one point openly declare their control over the school. They get a rude awakening 6 or 7 episodes in when Toudou discovers he is the Tomato in the Mirror, has a Freak Out, and is murdered by his creator, after which the protagonists get down to the business of ferreting out The Man Behind the Man and The Man Behind The Man Behind the Man from among the faculty and founders of the academy.
  • Kujibiki♡Unbalance, in which the entire premise of the show consists of a group of students trying to become this, by either competing against a bunch of other teams (in the original fake TV series/real OVA) or just training (in the real TV series). The series takes the absurdity to new levels; the student council is not only more powerful than the faculty, but it's also more powerful than the government.
  • Love After World Domination: Played with, in that the student council isn't shown to be particularly powerful when it comes to school affairs, but it's made entirely of absurdly powerful supervillains (in their civilian disguises).
  • Taken to absolutely preposterous levels in Love, Election & Chocolate, as the elected student officials have control over tens of billions of yen, make political war with each other, have "S-Agents" (spies) planted throughout the school, and even go so far as to directly attack or even try to eliminate students who oppose their will on occasion.
  • In Maid-Sama!, the Seika student council isn't really all that different from any 'normal' anime student council, but the Miyabigaoka (insanely rich kid school very similar to Ouran but played straight) student council can prosecute other students from other schools for punching a chess club member.
  • Maken-ki! is named for Tenbi Academy's student council, who're all high-level ability users, which ranges from functional magic, to Full-Contact Magic. Their main duty is to maintain order and enforce discipline at school, but they also handle negotiations for club funding and, if need be, they protect the school from external threats like Kamigari.
  • Manabi Straight! is a deconstruction of this, about a group of girls 20 Minutes into the Future who are newly forming a Student Council. A theme of the series seems to be that kids aren't allowed to be kids anymore and the notion of an Absurdly Powerful Student Council takes itself far, far too seriously.
  • Inverted in Medabots — the show's Student Council are stereotypical nerds who are hopeless at Medabot battling and lose their meeting room to the school bullies in the first episode.
  • In the manga Medaka Box, the student council goes up to eleven on the scale. Powerful, capable of defeating any number of delinquents without effort, trained in ridiculously high levels of martial arts, and seemingly impervious to any school authority for taking whatever actions are deemed necessary to carry out helping students with their requests. All the more amusing that in this case, the student council is one girl, the eponymous Medaka, whose standards are so high that after being elected Student Council President, she wears all the armbands of the entire student council herself to signify she's the only one capable of doing their jobs to her satisfaction (until she eventually gives one to her childhood best friend).
  • The student council in Midori Days spends several chapters hiring the most elite fighters of Japan in order to make the protagonist a fearless fighter again... so that he would become the class president the next year. Not only do the fights not work, but Seiji plain out doesn't care.
  • The Fraternity of the Farm in Moyashimon has some elements of this, especially in the live-action adaptation. They certainly have the run of the school during the Spring Festival story arc.
  • My-HiME:
    • The student council essentially polices itself, with its actual headmaster being little more than a figurehead. The vice-president Reito Kanzaki is the host body of the Big Bad and the president Shizuru Fujino is one of the super-powered HiME, and most of their on-screen council duties are limited to organizing school festivals (wherein plot-related stuff happens), leaving the disciplinary work to its most Hot-Blooded member while they sit back, relax and drink tea.
    • The trope is discussed near the start of the second episode. After Mai complains about Haruka interrogating her shortly after her arrival and finds it odd that a mere student gets to do that, Yuuichi explains that the school is run by the students for the students.
    • When Shizuru leaves the job, it becomes apparent that her laissez-faire attitude and sweet-natured diplomacy, combined with Haruka Suzushiro's boundless energy, kept the school running. Haruka can't do the job without her; though part of this is the job getting a lot harder after the school got half-destroyed in the HiME battles, she complains that Shizuru could have things sorted out if she was there.
  • The Morals Committee in Nejimaki Kagyu a Knight Templar group who not only police the school but have the power to get teachers fired.
  • Pretty Cure:
    • Played with in Yes! Pretty Cure 5. Karen, the Student Council President for the school's realistically (i.e. not at all) powerful student council, spends a whole episode trying to meet the requests of the student body, who seem to think they have an Absurdly Powerful Student Council that can acquire money and resources at will.
    • HeartCatch Pretty Cure! also plays with this. In the episode that introduces Itsuki, Tsubomi and Erika attempt to get their Fashion Club list in, only to confront the Council (depicted in the shadows and wearing Scary Shiny Glasses) who ominously tell them they were too late as Itsuki, the Student Council President, had left early. Erika doesn't give up so easily and she and Tsubomi confront Itsuki at her home... and find out Itsuki's a pretty nice guy... er, girl.
      • Another episode has a guy Itsuki handpicked to replace her after she decides to dedicate more time being a Precure think this way, believing that he'll have everyone swarming over him like they were with Itsuki. When Itsuki finds out, she lays him out over his selfish thinking.
  • Prison School: The Underground Student Council maintains a fully functional jail on the school property and goes to extreme lengths to expel the boys. They are later exposed and sent to jail themselves, whereupon the Aboveground Student Council takes their place.
  • Psychic School Wars: The student council seems to have more power than the teachers. They are able to make a rule that allows them to suspend students from bringing phones to school and it's suggested that they can use this against teachers as well.
  • Reborn! (2004): The Disciplinary Committee president, Kyoya Hibari, has everyone in the school afraid of him; no one does anything even when he harms the other students. He has the director of the local hospital under his fingers and is the most feared delinquent group in their town AND can get rid of dead bodies, no questions asked.
    • The reason for Hibari's considerable influence becomes clear by the Varia Arc — he is quite simply one of the deadliest people on the planet and resisting his will immediately puts one in severe physical danger.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena: The members of the Student Council have a private lift to their secret garden terrace where they debate the form the apocalypse will take based on the letters they all receive from The End Of The World. They are never seen to discuss uniforms or hall passes.
    • Actually, the treasurer of the Council, Juri, was briefly seen in one episode talking with a teacher about Student Council-y stuff. By the way, the teacher seemed terrified of her.
    • In an odd pass, neither the school nor the Council itself ever thinks to hold "elections" for a new Vice-President and no one ever blinks for a second when Nanami declares herself President in her brother's place.
      • The Utena Sega Saturn game pumps up the absurdity, by revealing that the only reason the council members have their places at all is that they're the most popular and "prince-like" students in the school. Their jobs on the council are arbitrarily assigned based on their age. Miki is genuinely shocked at the revelation; Juri just gets pissed.
    • Anthy is treated as a honorary member due her role as the Rose Bride and the councilmembers being the candidates to get engaged to her. As an extension, Utena in the manga is treated as another honorary member due having won the engagement.
  • Rosario + Vampire: The Public Safety Commission was originally a good, necessary institution that suffered heavily from Motive Decay. Now they're comparable to the yakuza who abuse their literal license to kill, and none of the faculty does anything about them. It's only after Tsukune and the members of his Unwanted Harem stand up to and defeat their leader Kuyou that the members finally get their just desserts. Later it was revealed that the Kuyou was in fact a member of Fairy Tale spying on the academy, which might explain some of why it got so evil.
  • Subverted in Seitokai Yakuindomonote . While the beginning — with quirky, ridiculously talented girls forcing a mostly normal guy into their ranks — seems like a setup for this, all of the student council tasks that are shown are relatively mundane. It even shows them dealing with a non-exaggerated amount of everyday paperwork.
  • Shattered Angels: Taken to its logical extreme with the post-apocalyptic scholastic city of Academia being ruled by an iron-fisted student council. Along with the power to imprison and use capital punishment, they have an inquisition-like force of secret police.
  • Shugo Chara!: The student council has their own private garden and tearoom which other students need an invitation to get into, and are apparently exempt from the dress code.
  • Sket Dance: The student council executives are made to be celebrities, and their respective quirks are often played for laughs. Although they have the obligatory power to manage and maintain the order among the different school clubs, they're just as prone to campus hijinks as the Sket Dan.
    • Aagata Soujiro, the President, would often be seen slacking off in the student council room and is viewed as a complete slacker by outsiders. He's also quite notorious for missing his meetings and for letting his right-hand man, Tsubaki Sasuke, take charge of running the whole student council, just because he thinks it's too much trouble doing it himself... However, looks can be deceiving: underneath the friendly face is a Manipulative Bastard and beats out Bossun as a Chessmaster.
  • Star Driver: Despite the "Order of Glittering Crux" not being a student council per se, its main leaders include students with extra responsibilities like a class rep, the art club president, the rich student/sponsor and the student dorms manager.
    • A wonder, or rather the male member staying behind ridiculous hours to get through all the paperwork that doesn't otherwise get done.
  • Tantei Opera Milky Holmes takes this trope to its logical extreme. Henriette Mystere is not just the student council president, she's the only real authority figure at the school. If there's a principal or even other student council members, we've never seen them.
  • The student councils in Tenjou Tenge and the very similar Dragon Destiny are at war with one another, and are so powerful they can even rape or kill students without repercussion (except revenge killings).
  • Subverted in Urusei Yatsura: at one point the teachers at Tomobiki High decide to try and actually enforce discipline on their insane students and get the Students Council help, except the other students respect them even less than the teachers and either ignore or beat them up (with the teachers they at least try and talk, and will sometimes back down).
  • In Valvrave the Liberator, after cutting themselves off from the rest of JIOR in the most literal way ever depicted in anime, the Student Council becomes the defacto government of an independent nation. Eventually, that independent nation goes on to becoming known as the Third Galactic Reich.
  • In Walkure Romanze, after Mio is issued a duel challenge by Bertille, she tries to protest that she isn't even training to be a knight. However, the student council says that a knight's honor is on the line anytime they do something like this, and allows this duel on the grounds of it being a training session. The only alternative is to quit the school, but Mio refuses that option since it wouldn't allow her to be close to Takahiro, a guy she likes, so she reluctantly agrees to the duel...
  • Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches is a classical example. An important element in the story's first part is Miyamura, Odagiri and Tamaki's race to become the new student council president because the president has ultimate power over the school and no-one can refuse his orders. Other than the power the student council has on the school, they are even able to extend their power beyond the school - for example, they forbid anyone who is not a member of the council to visit Asuka's house, and Asuka's mother actually complies with it.
  • Parodied in the Yuri Genre one-shot You're Lovelier Than A Rose. It has a few subtle Shout Outs and kicks to other series, such as Maria Watches Over Us.

    Comic Books 
  • US Patriot Act and American Eagle of PS238 treated the class president election as Serious Business, but once the election was over, it turned out that the faculty had no clue what the class president was supposed to do. So, despite the class president being the leader of a group of absurdly powerful students, the most significant thing said president has done in that role was preside over a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new computer lab.

  • Since Outcast is a Hetalia: Axis Powers Highschool AU based partially on the Gakuen Hetalia designs by creator Hidekaz Himaruya, it stands to reason that there would be a student council. In a traditional sense, the seven members of the St. Hetalia Academy for Boys Student Council are the only students who interact with the school's administrators; thus all official pronouncements and policy enforcement must go through them. In a more literal sense, membership in the student council (and consequent possession of a Golden Arrow pin) grants a council member an extraordinary, nigh-supernatural boost to their natural abilities and aptitudes. Russia's strength is increased to the point where he can fold the head of an axe like an origami napkin, America's courage and charisma are boosted to make him the sort of leader people consciously want to follow, and England's familiarity with dark magic gets amped up to the point that he can talk to the dead and monitor the whereabouts of students on school grounds.
  • Unlike in Persona 5, where Student Council President Makoto Niijima was a glorified gofer for the principal, she and the student council make all of the major decisions for Shujin Academy in The Evil Queen. Or rather, the council go along with Makoto's decisions out of fear. Many of the students believe Makoto is blackmailing Principal Kobayakawa to have this much power and influence. Which she is, though she likely never would have gone that far if he hadn't obstructed her from exposing Kamoshida's abuse of his students.
  • In Turtles, the Oarai Academy student council's status as such is emphasized. It's shown that Anzu's status as student council president is high enough that she can afford to address a teacher as "-san" rather than "-sensei," thereby emphasizing that she's the superior and the teacher is the subordinate. As such, Koume points out that they're not bluffing when they threaten to expel Miho for not doing tankery.
  • In Glee Reprise, the student leaders of rival glee club Vocal Adrenaline have an absurd amount of power over their club, and Carmel High as a whole.
  • Maria Campbell of the Astral Clocktower: Played with. The student council is made up of the six students with the top grades in the academy, and they have full authority over events, budgets, and basically everything else to do with running the school. Not to mention that the current council is made up of some of the most important nobles of their generation, meaning they have deep pockets and lots of political capital when they really need it. Maria, on the other hand, bluntly says that the actual purpose of the council is to make the students do all the paperwork so that the adults don't have to bother with it. The top six students are chosen because they're least likely to suffer a performance decrease from the extra workload.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Sydney White applies this to the Student Council of a university with the Alpha Bitch as the Student Council President.
  • Another Country runs on this trope, but on the not-unjustified premise of the power that prefects had in early 20th-Century British boarding schools.
  • Revenge of the Nerds, where the Greek Council has more power than city authority, and the police have no jurisdiction against "college pranks," even if they involve crimes of assault, vandalism, and rape; the only way for the nerds to get justice is to win the Greek Homecoming Festival.
  • Revenge of the Nerds was filmed long after Animal House had their Greek Council decide that Delta House should have its charter revoked.
    • Actually, this was a subversion. The Council President was clearly acting under Dean Wormer's orders and Wormer clearly stated that HE was planning to call the Delta national office and get their charter revoked.
  • The whole plot of the 1999 movie Election is a subversion; the story itself makes it clear that the Student Council does not have that much power, and that the whole process is largely a waste of time that much of the student body couldn't care less about. But to Tracy, All Elections Are Serious Business.
  • Assassination of a High School President displays a particularly corrupt Student Council. Luckily, the local School Newspaper Newshound is there to keep them in check.
  • The Swedish movie Evil combines this with Boarding School of Horrors. And the scariest part is, it's based on real life.
  • The teachers in the 1992 Boarding School movie School Ties, a crib sheet is found on the floor during an exam and the teachers tell the students to form their own impromptu hearing to decide which one of them was cheating. The token Jewish protagonist is seized upon by a Joker Jury of Anti-Semitic schoolboys. The heavy-handed tone of the scene is Hilarious in Hindsight once you consider who wrote the movie.
  • Pinch Runner (starring the J-Pop group "Morning Musume"): A character fakes a suicide attempt in the girls' bathroom. She is "treated" in the school nurse's office by a classmate who is a sort of junior-trainee doctor, with the rest of the Track and Field Club in attendance. Despite the liters upon liters of fake blood splashed all over the bathroom, the nurse's office, and three different girls' uniforms — and all seven students apparently skip class for the rest of the school day — there is no indication that the adults at the Two-Teacher School (or the girls' parents, for that matter) ever learn of the affair.

  • In Asura Cryin', the student council can give the authorization to kill. Can't get much more powerful than that.
  • In one of The Baby-Sitters Club books, Stacey tells Kristy that she should run for junior high class president so that she can change the gross school lunches. This isn't actually something a class president would be in control of.
  • The Vigils in The Chocolate War are somewhere between this and a gang of delinquents.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg wins a bid to be principal for a day, which in real life is generally a ceremonial position with some limited responsibilities, like being a student council member. Nonetheless, the school secretary asks him to sign checks, the janitors can get extra days off from him, and a teacher asks him for a better parking space. Greg lampshades that he isn't sure if he actually has any binding authority to do this, but none of the adults seem to think otherwise.
  • Inverted in "Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?" by John Powers. At the author's fictional Catholic high school, student council elections are a big unpopularity contest; only the most disliked students (the "fat and ugly kids") get nominated or voted into office. Being elected President of the Student Council is the kiss of death; it means the "winner" is THE most unpopular student in the school.
  • Chrome Shelled Regios: The Student Council President is explicitly in charge of the city. Considering that includes its military for fighting giant monsters as well as other cities, that's a pretty big responsibility. He can effectively force students to change their majors if he decides it's in the city's best interest.
  • The Great Greene Heist:
    • The characters lampshade how the broad-minded school founders gave the student council unprecedented amounts of authority. The student council is made up of 30-40 kids, but whenever there's no quorum at a meeting (which happens a lot due to class schedules) the Executive Council can pass rules on the entire council's behalf. There are five kids on the Executive Council, but since they only need a majority vote, in theory three kids can make irreversible decisions regarding the lunch menu, disposal of paper waste, and the budgets for student organizations. This gives Jackson and Hashemi Oh, Crap! reactions when their enemy Keith, his cousin, and his best friend all run for Executive Council positions.
    • When presented with evidence of any wrongdoing, Honor Board members have the authority to nullify election results, order investigations, and ban malefactors from any future elections without needing a hearing or the principal's permission.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Taken far in the fifth book with Umbridge's Inquisitorial Squad, which has even more disciplinary powers, which could possibly include legal consequences. By that point, however, everyone's so sick of Umbridge that points don't matter to them, and they proceed to make life miserable for her and anyone helping her.
    • The school Quidditch teams' lineup, practice schedules, and training regimens all seem to be the sole responsibility of the team captain. Madame Hooch, whom you'd think would be the logical sports coach, doesn't seem to have any duties beyond refereeing and teaching First Years how to not fall off a broomstick.
  • In Haruhi Suzumiya, Itsuki's organization creates one to fit this trope. The Student Council President actually laughs about how ridiculous the premise is... while slowly getting sucked into acting this way for real (This sort of thing happens a lot, due to Haruhi's influence). Yuki's faction sees it coming and sends in Kimidori to keep things in check. Thus, when the President tries to cause trouble for the SOS Brigade (and overdoes it), the only thing stopping a furious Nagato from killing him is Kimidori's silent reassurance.
  • High School D×D: Most of the school's politics seemed to be settled through negotiation between the Student Council President Souna Sitri and the Occult Research Club President Rias Gremory. Justified, as most of the senior faculty are devils, and direly outranked by the de facto heads of two of the three great houses. In fact, since both Rias and Souna have older siblings who are Satans, the balance of power for the entire Devil faction is filtered through Kuoh Academy's school politics.
  • Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere: Aside from mundane school-related tasks, each country's student council also is responsible for the government and military.
  • In The Lottery by Beth Goobie the council uses threats, bullying, blackmail amongst other methods to maintain its absurd power.
  • My Dark and Fearsome Queen: The student council has its own security bureau which investigates teachers for misbehavior. The Drama Club also has quite a bit of power, having access to the school's master keys and activity bus passes.
  • Downplayed in The Naughtiest Girl, in that there are student "meetings" every week, in which all the pupils hand in their money, and it is given out according to if the needs are considered worthy enough by the meeting; and punishments for erring students are decided.
  • Reign of the Seven Spellblades. The faculty as a rule rarely intervene in student life, so the student council has to fill the gap. They're empowered to mete out discipline for attacking or endangering other students outside of the dueling rules, and are able to initiate curfews in the event of labyrinth incidents—and under Alvin Godfrey's presidency, they very much do: "Encore" shows them punishing Miligan for breaking the curfew in volume 3 by hanging her over a cauldron into which they toss ingredients to torment her with the fumes. They also exercise a lot of soft power over the general student culture: Kimberly used to be even crazier before the Campus Watch rose to power.
  • Schooled in Magic: Emily wonders if the Quarrel (student society) she joins at Mountaintop serves as this, given how many members come from powerful families.
  • In Son of Interflux, Simon Irving, as student council treasurer, is able to use school funds to purchase land and, through various means, lead a surprisingly-effective student protest against the eponymous company.
  • Strawberry Panic! takes this one and runs with it: the setting involves a complex three-schools-in-one situation, and the student councils and their goings-on are given a great deal of ceremony, and the members are treated like royalty, with just getting to see the Etoile (the one who is above the three Student Council Presidents) up close being a longtime dream of many students. When power struggles happen, it is Not Pretty, in a way that's much darker than the show's usual lighthearted tone.
  • One of these types of Student Councils appears to be the focus of Student Council's Discretion, though they tend to get distracted by Conversational Troping so often it's a wonder they get anything done.
  • Toradora! plays with and ultimately subverts the trope. The Student Council President Sumire certainly acts like she's absurdly powerful, as she likes to address and bark orders to the student body through a bullhorn and approaches everything about the council with utmost seriousness. But the council itself doesn't have much more power than you'd expect them to have, i.e. planning school events and volunteer activities, and the students in general aren't particularly intimidated by them (indeed, Taiga openly snarks at Sumire during assemblies). It's shown to be Serious Business for those involved, though, especially Sumire and her vice president/successor Yuusaku.
  • The Witch of Knightcharm is set at an evil Wizarding School where the top four students are known as the 'elites' and, as a group / council, decide which students are given which class rank. That rank in turn determines everything from the quality of food and equipment other students get to which missions they're assigned. As such, even though the elites are just students, they still control almost every aspect of the other students' lives and can make their lives at the Scholomance easier... or much, much harder. (And shorter).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Awkward.: The Asian mafia, led by Becca, that engage in elaborate Batman Gambits to eliminate anyone in their way. When Ming gets Becca suspended and inadvertently becomes the leader, we find out that the Asian mafia has an even more ridiculous amount of power than previously seen. Ming is given a phone with which she can call only one number, that will give her anything she asks for.
  • Degrassi: The Next Generation: During the shooting episode, Jay says "When your girlfriend's student council vice president, nobody asks questions." Otherwise, they limit the student council to what a student council would be involved in, raffle tickets and dances. That being said, the student council is apparently unsupervised and the Student Council President is widely respected and the student council races are intense. In the same vein, composition of the "Spirit Squad" (cheerleading team) is determined solely by the head cheerleader, with no faculty input. Her decisions are final.
  • Everybody Hates Chris: Played with. Chris runs for class president and wins after promising that he'll do his best to bring actual change, only to be told that he can't actually do any of the things he said he would try to get done (which, according to a flashback, included putting cherry kool-aid in the water fountains). However, after he's impeached and replaced, his replacement immediately succeeds in getting this done.
  • The Hard Times of RJ Berger: The student council handles the entire student body's budget and uses the money to fund the athletic department's new uniforms and shoes while depriving other clubs of funds and tearing apart the drama club's sets and removing a wheelchair ramp and making scrap wood.
  • Kamen Rider Decade in its High School AU translation of Faiz, has the Lucky Clover as this. The Absurdly Powerful part gets literal as the Lucky Clover is a group of powerful Orphenoch.
  • No Ordinary Family: Daphne is elected student body president by vowing to replace the gym lockers and allow cellphones in the hall, and there's no indication that she can't make good on those promises. She also sits on a three student council which votes on the guilt or innocence of rule-breakers facing detention or suspension.
  • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide: Yearbook edition. Moze realizes there is not enough money to publish a nice yearbook, so on her own it seemed, contacted a cell phone company CVC Global net first to sponsor the yearbook. Then she sold them the rights to have the mascot to make more money for the yearbook. Finally, she sold them the rights to rename the school to CVC Global Net Middle School.
  • The Politician: Subverted. The election for class president is seen as Serious Business from the perspective of Payton, his campaign staff, and his rivals, but practically ignored by the point of view character in the Lower-Deck Episode "The Voter". Payton finds upon taking up the office that the school board is unwilling to enact any policies he brings before them.
  • Ripping Yarns: Student hierarchy in British public boarding schools is often portrayed in fiction. It is parodied in the episode "Tomkinson's Schooldays" with the one-person version of this with Grayson the School bully. "School Bully" is his official title; he's won a Bullying Cup and a "kick-in of fags", and parents send their sons to the school partly to be bullied by him. He also has some significant influence outside of the school, for example in the Church of England. "Absurdly powerful" could not be a more apt description.
    Tomkinson: In return for not hitting any of the masters, the Head had allowed Grayson certain privileges, such as having unmarried Filipino women in his room, smoking opium, and having a sauna instead of prayers.
  • Room 222: Subverted. A student-council member was critiqued for simply recommending the school student council having the power to have input on a school's textbooks, or on removing a bad teacher in extreme cases.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Subverted. Jenny runs and wins (with Sabrina's help) for class president on a platform of real change, only to find out she could not she had no authority to fulfill any of her campaign promises, only had authority over things she didn't care about like lunch menus, and that high school elections are little more than a popularity contest. She gives the position to Libby, who believes the premise.
  • Veronica Mars did an episode around the corrupt antics of Neptune High's student council. The council, run by the school's wealthiest students, conceived a policy called "Pirate Points" to allow the councilmen and their cronies on the various sports and cheer teams to have take-out food delivered to the school for them to eat, while forcing the rest of the students, and those in clubs that were not liked by the jocks and student council, to eat the crappy cafeteria food. To keep a rabble-rousing ex-cheerleader from getting elected student council president on a platform of her abolishing the Pirate Point program, Alpha Bitch Madison Sinclair schemed to get popular student Duncan Kane elected president, under the logic that Duncan would keep the Pirate Point program going since he was too spaced out to care either way about how controversial the program was. In the end, after realizing the reform candidate was a narc for the local police and probably wouldn't carry out her vow to abolish the program, Veronica was forced to switch candidates and shamed Duncan (via pointing out how much of a hand-puppet he had become for Madison) into taking up the cause. Rather than abolish the system, he opts to reform it into a more egalitarian program, expanding it to include all clubs and teams at school as well as all students on the honor roll.
  • The Wonder Years:
    • The Yearbook Committee variation is subverted when Kevin, giving into peer pressure, puts a disparaging quote by the picture of a likable but overweight friend. He agonizes over the effect this will have on his friend, only to find that the school administration, learning of the quote, has it removed and tells off Kevin.
    • Played straight in the episode in which Kevin finds himself elected to the student council: he was in the bathroom, and his classmates took advantage of his absence to elect him. It was one vote for Mr. Ed, two for Ringo Starr, and the rest for Kevin. He then gets mixed up in calls for a walkout to protest the war in Vietnam, with the realistic result that the principal threatens all concerned with suspension and a mark on their permanent record.
  • You Can't Do That on Television: Played with. In the outro to the "Opposite Skits" segment, Justin is running for Student Council President and makes the most outrageous claims:
    Justin: ...and, if you elect me Class President, I guarantee — repeat, GUARANTEE! — that Wind Surfing will become a credited course! (Cheering from the class) I promise free video games in the cafeteria! (Cheers) And most of all, I promise rock and roll piped into the hallways!
    Christine: Well, back to reality.

  • Veritas: The student council can organize death matches. Justified by the fact that the president is the leader of Heaven's Riches, (and therefore the most powerful person in the martial arts community) and there are no teachers at all.

    Video Games 
  • Black Closet is entirely this trope. You run the student council and investigate crimes and misdemeanors in your exclusive private school as if you were the Secret Police. Ransack students' rooms to search for contraband (or plant it), torture them in detention to break their spirits, and if all else fails, "execute" them by having them expelled. And then run a lemonade stand to boost your approval ratings.
  • Bully: Not stated outright, but, considering the elaborate class presidential elections, and the extreme levels of power the Head Boy is implied to have, one has to wonder...
  • Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice: The dean of the Maritsu Evil Academy is also the overlord, meaning they rule the world.
  • Ensemble Stars!: The student council has control over the different clubs, organisations, and groups the students can be part of. All perfectly normal student council stuff! Except that this school is designed for raising and promoting Idol Singers, and the make-up of these idol groups is also within the council's purview. This means that the council - and particularly its president, Eichi — have a huge amount of control over all the students' current careers and reputations, which may follow them for the rest of their lives. As it happens, before the player character transferred in, this power was absolutely abused to promote the president's group. However, over the course of the main story, a plucky group of second-years manage to reverse this and cut back most of this power. The student council remains an intimidating presence over the following stories, but not nearly to the same extent as before.
  • Final Fantasy VIII: The Disciplinary Committee is a student-run committee in Balamb Garden that exists to enforce the Garden's rules among the students. Though perhaps it wasn't a good idea to allow Seifer and his "posse" to run it, as they use their power to bully and harass other students without fear of getting into trouble for it. It is also implied that they have some sort of "hit list" that even the school's instructors aren't safe from.
  • High School Story: Zig-Zagged. While you can have members of the student government, they themselves are not very powerful. You, on the other hand, seem to be the entire board of education condensed into one little teen.
  • New Gundam Breaker: The Student Council of Gunbre High School absolutely rules over the school, to the point where you and your team of beautiful high school girls create a rebelling Gunpla Battle Team, Side 0, to trounce the Council and take back the school. When you finally meet the Student Council President, you find out that all of this was done to find a powerful opponent to fight and that, in the past, the player character had actually beaten him. Once he has a Heel Realization, he dissolves his corrupt team and you and many of the others take over with their own.
  • Persona 3 has a student council president capable of covering up crimes, creating fake student profiles, and bossing teachers around. She also "executes" the male members of your party after an unfortunate incident involving a mix up of the times each gender was supposed to be allowed to use some hot springs. Said student council president's absurd power stems less from being Student Council President and more being the heiress of a MegaCorp that funds the school.
  • Persona 5 averts this as a way to show a Deconstructed Character Archetype with Makoto Niijima being the Student Council President. Instead of being beloved by all, impossibly perfect, and more powerful than even the teachers, Makoto is a completely powerless glorified gopher for the principal, all the students hate her because they assume she's in on the abuse coverup and sides with Kamoshida, and all the responsibility is a massive struggle for her. Also, the rest of the student council basically doesn't exist, as nothing they do ultimately has much impact on Shujin Academy.
  • Rival Schools and Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer are Fighting Games that both revolve around student councils that want to take over not just their school, but all of Japan. In the case of Rival Schools, this was a failed attempt at a Batman Gambit of one of the school's principals in order to create a new generation of politicians and civil workers to make a better future for Japan.
  • Robopon: While Bisco is a bully, he and his gang hold sway over Libra School's teachers and principal.
  • Troublemaker: Sekolah Menengah Cipta Wiyata is a Jakarta high school whose student council somehow has higher authority than the principal and faculty, with their chairman, Ricco, leading his cronies in pummeling the snot out of any students who crosses them the wrong way. Somehow they're powerful enough to have all reports of school violence buried.
  • Twisted Wonderland: The headmaster and faculty of Noble Bell College are never seen. Its only authority figure seen is its student council, with its Student Council President Rollo Flamme acting as the de facto face of the school.
  • Wintermoor Tactics Club: Members of the Student Council are allowed to carry swords and appear to be omniscient. In particular, Alicia is terrified of their leader, who has her own unique theme, and she will refuse to approach her — which can interfere with some Quests, since she has a habit of hanging out in plot-relevant areas.
  • Yandere Simulator: The student council combines this trope with Yellow Sash of Power, as the student council, headed by the final rival, Megami Saikou, has the authority to stop and punish troublemakers by reporting them to the councilor or, in extreme cases, pepper spraying the perpetrator herself. Killing a student council member causes Megami to take more extreme security measures, such as metal detectors and security cameras, to catch evildoers. It will eventually be possible for Yandere-chan herself to join the student council, with the benefits of being able to ask favors of students without befriending them, be thirty minutes late to class without punishment, be able to go anywhere except the boys' bathroom without being considered a trespasser, not be so easily noticed when doing questionable actions, and one unknown benefit that only kicks in when Megami returns to school after her leave of absence. Joining the student council, however, requires a number of difficult requirements before they'd even consider it, and staying in the student council requires Yandere-chan to attend daily meetings and perform five tasks a week, which cuts into the time needed to eliminate rivals.

    Visual Novels 
  • Taken to its logical extreme in Big Bang Age. The Student Union rules not a school but the entire country, enforcing order on the super-powered teenagers of Japan. Its the weakening of their authority that sets the stage for the main plot as factions start infighting.
  • Another visual novel by Key, CLANNAD takes this up to eleven by having Tomoyo using the student council as authority in the city itself' to save the sakura trees that are important to her. (Especially ludicrous since that's NOT the only school in town, even if somehow the student body did have any voice) Her intentions are good and all, but the truth of the matter is that "Student Council president" does not give one a community voice.
  • Kanon, where the student council apparently has some say in whether or not students get expelled or not (in the 2006 anime, at least). In the original game, the signature of a student council member was needed to get the school board to revoke an expulsion, implying that the council had influence in such matters but did not actually have the authority to make such decisions on their own.
  • Subverted in Katawa Shoujo, in which Shizune and Misha are two members of the Student Council. The only members, unless Hisao joins them. As an example of their lack of power, while much work is pushed on to them for the School Festival, including management of budgets and the creation of most of the stalls, they lack the authoritative power to recruit help or even make sure that everybody gets the paperwork in. (Oh, and the president is deaf and mute. Makes it so easy talking with others.)
    • It's implied that in the past, the student council was even less effective, and Shizune was responsible for pushing for a more active student council. Shizune seems to attribute the problem to the student body and expresses some concern over how effective her successors will be. Unfortunately, this ended up driving most of the other members off.
  • In Nukitashi the SS (SHO students) commitee serves as both the school council and the disciplinary comittee of Minotsuki Academy. Its members are on a special scolarship from Seiran Health Organization in exchange for enforcing the pervert sex laws. They organize large-scale promiscuous events and competitons, often with the intention of catching the anti-copulation front. Some SS students, including Ikuko and Rei, lead military battalions that employ riot guns to suppress rebels who don't conform to promiscuity.
  • Averted in RE: Alistair. When you ask Derek if he enjoys being on the student council, he admits that the student council is mostly decorative and that the school board makes most of the decisions.
  • Inverted in Sunrider. Flashbacks show that when Ava Crescentia and Kayto Shields were on the student council, they were the only members: Ava's overbearing leadership drove the rest away. As a result, they were constantly overworked and never got anything done.
    • The Highschool AU Dating Sim spinoff Sunrider Academy further inverts this in Ava's route, where it's revealed that no student council in the past thirty years has managed to do so much as getting a single club budget passed. Previous student council presidents just used the position as a way to get dates.

    Web Comics 
  • El Goonish Shive has averted this; the duties of the student council so far seem to be announcing rules the principal made.
  • Played with in Snowflakes. The election was organized by the students, and no winner has been decided yet. It's also unclear as to how much power the winner would actually wield. It just gets really boring waiting around an orphanage all day.
    • Downplayed after the winner is chosen, however. Although their role treated as important by the other kids and they're given the chance to make important decisions, not much is shown due to Priti attempting to overthrow them
  • Magick Chicks takes this to literal extremes with Artemis Academy's student council, which is comprised of badass normals, Ninja, and their leader, Faith Abbot, is the most powerful esper in the school's history. This is the reason Cerise's first order of business in taking over the school was to get rid of them.
  • Justified in Mob Psycho 100, in that their president Kamuro actually tricks the faculty into giving them this kind of power by engineering a situation they don't really want to deal with and "offering" to do it in their stead, and by the point the faculty realizes what's happening they can't take it back without losing face.
  • In Paranatural the student council, along with the vice-principal, makes and enforces the school rules while manipulating the timid principal. Nobody knows who the student council president is because it was a secret ballot ("I'm pretty sure that's not what that means"), and his Twelve Black Saint Councilor-Generals are too powerful for anyone to challenge. The only one with any ability to fight this oppressive regime is Lisa, who runs the student store, but she only cares about profit. Note that none of this has anything to do with the main plot.
  • Detox Camp: The so-called student council runs a prison camp in Alaska, where the sole adult takes no responsibility for the kids. Activities include organizing death courses and administering frontier justice.

    Web Original 
  • Mani Mani People: Shiina, the school president of Mani Mani High decided on a whim that all female students must wear cheongsams just because he loves traditional Chinese clothing. The school didn't object to his decision and even enforced it.
  • The Flash series XIN is a good example of this trope in the last half of the series, the first half dealing with a completely anarchical school.
    • The schools we don't see in the first half are also implied to be like this. The subversion is that in Public High School 1368 the student captain, Legend, just does his own thing, while the regular students are absurdly powerful, getting away with decking teachers just because no one that cares can stop them. The second half of the series features the "Four Pillars" of Varron Academy, who function like this... but they're really just the school supervisor's pawns.
  • Survival of the Fittest V3's student council from Southridge High School. Whilst they don't, perhaps, reach the same extremes as some of the examples listed here, they're shown at least to have quite some actual power as regards to the running of the school. For example, one character joins the council in order to force the school to take action against the rampant sexual harassment going on (though in that character's case it was more her and her family threatening legal action than the position in the school council that got the school to act).
  • In Sailor Nothing, the Fashion Club has untold power over the student masses and their social status.
    Seiki: Guys, it's just the Fashion Club. It's not like the Principal's passed an edict or anything.
  • Parodied in the short story Anime Story (which is an attempt to invoke as many anime tropes as possible). Takes a more sinister turn when it turns out the student president is the puppet of an Evil Overlord.
  • Magical Security Taskforce has Molly and her minion Claude. A quote from the prologue "The student council presidency at L. B. Gould High School in L. B. Gould, Ohio became a totalitarian autocracy so quickly that nobody was prepared to stop it. In fact, nobody quite knew what was happening when Molly Pearson swept into power." She never has anyone killed, but short of murder, the student council (aka Molly)can do whatever she wants.
  • Played with in Welcome to Night Vale: They have an Absurdly Powerful City Council instead. The Night Vale City Council is described as something akin to an Omniscient Council of Vagueness. Everything that occurs in Night Vale is in some way governed by the City Council. It is purported to have existed for nearly 200 years and forces townspeople to vote for them by taking them down into an abandoned mineshaft outside town, doing unknown things to them, and threatening torture and kidnapping of family members. The Council also plays a major role in directing the townspeople's attention away various (extremely obvious) supernatural occurrences, including a mysterious "Glow Cloud" seen hovering around town and raining dead animals, a bloody massacre at the local post office which was accompanied with sounds of "souls being ripped apart by black magic", and the frequent sightings of mysterious figures in black robes lurking around town. The City Council are also cowardsnote  who tend to bail out of town during crises and end up getting bullied into letting Tamika Flynn, a teenage bookworm and militia leader, become the first new councillor since Night Vale's founding when she decides she wants to be one.
    Cecil (In reference to "angel" sightings): "The Council would like to remind you that you should not know anything about this. They only tell lies and they do not exist."
    • The PTA is apparently not immune from this either, hosting such functions as "a fundraiser for the 'Parents for a Blood Space War' committee. The money raised will go towards production of photon bombs and deployment of soldiers to the outer areas of the solar system." Their meetings are also known to erupt into bloody riots.
  • Whateley Universe: While not a student council in the usual sense, the 'Alphas' clique generally fills this role, being The Beautiful Elite of Whateley Academy, the movers and shakers of a Superhero School where many of the future's leaders - heroic, villainous, or otherwise - are groomed. Officially, each club and training team is supposed to have a representative in the group. However, in 2005 the group was pretty much hijacked by a group of evil snobs who kicked out anyone who wasn't pretty enough and vicious enough for their tastes. This group was overthrown in early 2007, so things are getting back to where they should be - for now.
  • In this ProZD video, he compares and contrasts student councils in anime vs the real world. In the first, the student council representative is extorting President Biden for funding and has several students and their families put to death because the students were tardy. In the second, the council representative meekly tries asking the others if they want to do a fundraiser.

    Western Animation 
  • 6teen: The show takes place in a mall instead of a school, but otherwise Tricia fills the role perfectly in "Unhappy Anniversary" where she manages to get Caitlin banned from every store in the mall.
  • American Dad!: Parodied. After Steve is elected Student Council President, the first thing he does is to kick the principal out of his office by way of a school statute. The principal concedes that he's powerless to do anything; in fact, he's happier that Steve is able to read.
    Principal Lewis: The system works! (beat) ...I'll be back for my things.
  • Bromwell High: The student council president is given absolute power, even above that of the headmaster, though this is only discovered by digging through the school records. Lampshaded with a comment about naive optimism.
    Natella (reading): We hope that future generations will benefit from our muddled and misguided idealism.
  • Clone High: Parodied. The most important decisions that the Student President made are the placement of rugs in the library.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: The student council president has his own office, can use powerful technology to force kids into school on snow days, and can declare war on other grades. They apparently can debate with the school board on a few issues as well. The safety patrol/hall monitors act like a police force, arresting students and keeping them in detention.
  • Daria subverts this by rendering Lawndale's student council invisible save for its President, Ensemble Dark Horse Jodie Landon, who kept mentioning being in the student council whenever she appeared on-screen.
  • Doug: The class treasurer election is such Serious Business that, for Doug, Skeeter donated old campaigning materials from his uncle Dan Freebird (his justification being having the same initials as "Doug Funnie"), and his opponent's father, the Mayor of Bluffington, used his own campaign for re-election to parade his son around. Unfortunately, this distracted the Mayor from his own election, causing him to lose on a landslide. And Dan Freebird was elected class treasurer.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: The Student Council President can cut in line (with a springboard to any student that doesn't let them), has his own bathroom stall and office, his own security detail, and apparently has important duties. This might be where the popular kids' bodyguard comes from as well.
  • Fillmore!:
    • X Middle School has a variation; in this school, it's an Absurdly Powerful Safety Patrol, which is basically a student-run police force that enforces all of the school rules and runs like a real-world police force. They take it upon themselves to make sure their fellow classmates play nice. Though it's made clear on multiple occasions that they answer to the teachers, or at least the principal.
    • "Links in a Chain of Honor": The eighth grade student council President has the authority to buy truckloads of foam fingers for the school and is in charge of appointing the sixth grade student council officials rather than let them be chosen by election. The episode "A Forgetten Yesterday" also reveals that the student council can issue search warrants, while a student council president candidate in "Two Wheels, Full Throttle, No Breaks" indicates that he'd have the power to disband the safety patrol if he wins the election.
  • Invader Zim: In one episode, the president's job is to sing the school's praises and never say one single word against it... or else.
  • Recess:
    • The Principal for a Day elections allow the winner to order all-day recess and big parties if he chooses, which the actual principal is helpless to stop.
    • The King of the Playground seems like a mere ceremonial position for popular kids at times, but King Bob has the authority to have kids get swirlies or locked in a box, hold trials, have the name of any newly transfered student be legally changed to "New Kid", and build structures. He also mentions his predecessors doing things like writing a code of laws and successfully lobbying to the city council for more recess.
  • Robotomy: "El Presidente": In "El Presidente", the student president has absolute power over students, teachers and school funds and rules like a tyrannical medieval monarch, complete with guards, a dungeon, statues of themselves, a spike-covered throne, and wars against rival schools. Also, instead of being elected, the position is seized by armed revolution.
  • The Simpsons: "The President Wore Pearls. Upon being elected Student Council President, Lisa expects to have a say in the school's affairs. However, Chalmers and Skinner sidetrack her by turning her into a glamorous Eva Peron lookalike and tricking her into authorizing the elimination of music, art, and gym — although the fact that they apparently need her approval to do this plays this trope pretty straight. Doubly subverted when Lisa uses her moral authority to call a student strike, ultimately reversing the cuts. Chalmers ultimately explains to her that student government is meaningless, and their constitution is just written on the back of a placemat from some place called "Doodle's".
  • South Park: Subverted when Cartman becomes a school announcement reader, he tries to turn the entire school against Student Council President Wendy. In the end, Wendy, who unlike Cartman knows how little power her position actually has, gets revenge upon Cartman by appointing him her replacement after resigning from Student Council, which effectively costs Cartman his job as announcement reader. Cartman's defeat is made worse when he discovers the lack of power the Student Council actually has and his replacement as announcement reader is now crucifying Cartman for not fixing any of the school's problems.
  • You're (Not) Elected, Charlie Brown: Subverted. After Linus becomes class president, his attempts to make sweeping changes are met with the principal explaining that he doesn't really have any significant power.

    Real Life 
  • While student positions in High School or below are generally powerless, student positions at Colleges are often far more influential. For example, the student trustee of many institutions will often have a full vote that is fully equal to those of the other school trustees. Also, many schools have student-run boards set up to manage the portion of student fees used for student organizations. In large schools, this can easily lead to control of many thousands of dollars.
    • Most of the funds are either used for things like bringing in comedians, musicians, and films (to be enjoyed by students free of charge, since after all, they've already paid for them) or are given away to campus clubs. Frequently, if a club bothers to ask and the amount isn't ludicrous, it's essentially a rubber-stamp decision (all officially recognized clubs generally have representation on the council, and if your club's representative gets a reputation for turning down requests, guess what will happen to his own club's requests).
  • Law schools typically have a "Student Bar Association" that acts this way.
  • Sudbury Valley School and the educational model it founded. The entire student body is, in theory, an absurdly powerful student council.
  • The Solbacka school in Sweden, which inspired Jan Guillou to write his novel Ondskan ("The Evil").
  • There's also the H.B. Woodlawn Secondary Program, where the student body can participate in 'town meetings', which have power over almost every aspect of the school (the Principal can, if necessary, override the TM) up to and including funding allocation for teachers, as well as clubs.
  • In the US Air Force, all airmen who graduate Basic Training have to go through Tech School, vocational training to learn the jobs they will be performing in the Air Force. Airmen in training and living in the dorms can volunteer (or be "volun-told") to become a "Rope" note , airmen who have been trained and given the power to enforce the rules over the other airmen. These guys are emulating the authority hierarchy that exists in the real military and helping the sergeants manage the sometimes upwards of thousands of airmen in any given training squadron. They are able to report airmen to the sergeants for violating rules and are often expected to take attendance and make sure everybody gets to where they are supposed to be. Some Ropes are apathetic as long as the airmen under them don't actively get them in trouble, others are regular Neidermeyers, quite a few actually are competent leaders if given a chance.
    • Even this is a subversion. What the squadron leadership says is what goes. A Rope who tries to maintain otherwise does so at his or her own peril.
  • In many Military Academies, in order to prepare cadets for their future careers, the students are given ranks parallel to their equivalents within the real military. First-year students will often be cadet privates and fourth-year students will be cadet officers. The cadets will be organized into battalions and companies under the command of upper-class cadet officers. Many times these corps of cadets will be led by a "cadet colonel" or general. Actual commissioned officers have seniority over a cadet of any rank. Cadets do however outrank the enlisted personnel of the military in question.
    • The Honor Board that such institutions in the United States have conducts investigations into allegations of honor code violations (could be anything from cheating on a test to faking illness in order to avoid guard duty to knowing about an honor code violation and not reporting it). Typically, the Honor Board functions in the same manner as a court-martial, with one Honor Board member serving as defense. If the cadets who are on the Honor Board find a cadet guilty of a violation of the honor code (typically something along the lines of "A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do."), a punishment gets recommended to the commandant (at least for upperclassmen, it's usually dismissal), who has the final say over it but rarely reduces the punishment.
      • The Virginia Military Institute has a "single-sanction" honor system, meaning that all violators of the honor code are dismissed. In fact, they are immediately led off of the premises after they are convicted, told that if they ever returned, the police would be called, and asked for an address in Lexington (the town where the Institute is located) for their possessions to be delivered to or an address somewhere else for their possessions to be shipped to along with a bill for the shipping. After that, in the middle of the night, the Corps of Cadets is woken up via a drum roll and told never to speak the name of the violator in the barracks again.
    • In the Russian army, cadets may receive totally real ranks, starting with yefreitor (corporal) and ending with junior lieutenant (they are commissioned as normal lieutenants after they graduate).
  • The Valiant Defender's Party Student Leadership Society tries to pass itself off as this, their council being called the High Command. In one of their newsletters, "world domination" is implied to be their ultimate goal.
  • At the University of Colorado at Boulder, the student government handles a budget around $36.6 million dollars. It's been autonomous from Colorado's government since 1974. It has three branches of government and visits Washington, D.C. regularly to weigh in on decisions involving students in the United States. Officially, there are only a few students in each branch of government, but there are hundreds of students involved with some sort of student government at CU-Boulder. Absurdly powerful doesn't even start to describe it. Oh, and this isn't even mentioning the enormous collection of clubs, including the represented racial groups, foreign countries, and the huge GLBT and Gay Straight Alliance!
    • A lot of public universities have versions of this. A portion of student fees go the student government and are under student control. Also, typically the student center and school stores are owned by and managed by this (and as anyone who has ever bought a college textbook can tell you, this can be lucrative). Budgets in the tens of millions are quite common, as are trips to the state capitol and other places (as are the occasional reports of malfeasance) the amount the student body is aware and or cares of these activities varies.
  • Due to student-teachers conflicts in the 1800s that led to the murder of a professor, the faculty of the University of Virginia are formally banned from punishing their students for academic misconduct. Instead, assigning guilt and punishment is entirely in the hands of a wholly student-run Honor Court (i.e. a full-blown criminal justice system, with juries, judges, and counsels for the prosecution and defense). For most of the history of the U-Va Honor Court, the only punishment available was permanent expulsion (or if the student has already graduated, the retroactive voiding of the degree awarded); serious business indeed. Although, the students did vote in 2022 to considerably neuter the power of the court; as it turned out, a system that was mostly run by the scions of the Southern Aristocracy can get quite racist against black students.
  • A report commissioned by the Supreme Court of India on the issue of student body electionsnote  revealed, at least in colleges around Lucknow,
    With elections approaching, student candidates in Lucknow, for example openly supported by national and regional political parties, extorted money and vehicles from businessmen, plastered the city with posters and subjected it to their violent and clamorous will. After elections, elected leaders extorted contracts from the university, particularly the works department, forced entry into all-important university decisions and exacted protection money from government contractors. They also sported the latest cars, had their own gunmen and strode the university overawing and coercing college principals and university vice-chancellors to do their bidding. They did not stop at university authorities, but extorted money and goods from local merchants, ostensibly to "fund student activities".
The report also wryly added student elections around India are violent or banned because of violence.
  • Some British secondary schools have adopted a system in which the student council comprises of specially-selected sixth form students who make decisions on behalf of the entire sixth form. The staff is consulted and the school governors have some say, but the power split is aimed to be roughly 70/30.
  • Frosh Week for the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo is run by the Education Committee or EDCOM. They dress and act like military police, but their authority only lasts for the duration of Frosh Week, and they are usually very friendly outside of uniform.
    • On the other hand, the University of Waterloo (Ontario)'s Federation of Students has a large budget and is run like a corporation, including high salaries for its executives.
  • The University of Bologna was originally run by the student council, who hired, fired, and set the wages of all the professors. A student committee was also charged with keeping tabs on the professors for any misbehavior. The professors could be fined if they failed to finish classes on time or complete their course material by the end of the semester (the professors weren't powerless, though, forming into a College of Teachers to win the rights to set exam fees and degree requirements). Even so, a reverse from the usual relationship (unsurprisingly, as the university was founded by the students c. 1088, making it the oldest known in the world). Eventually, its rule was ended by the city authorities, who turned it into a regular public university.
  • In Victorian Era boarding schools, the "fagging"note  system gave the senior students almost complete power over their juniors. Under the system, a junior student (the fag) was assigned to act as a servant to an upper-year student (the fagmaster); in return, the upper-year student was held responsible for his charge's welfare and behaviour. The entire system, in turn, was overseen by a group of prefects lead by the Head Boy/Girl. Because adult teachers generally did not concern themselves with the students outside of class except in the most extreme of circumstances, these elder students had almost complete authority over the people under them in terms of settling disputes and administering punishments. Many of these people abused their authority and basically treated their charges as slaves and playthings. The entire system was intentionally created to prepare their students for the harshly hierachical and regimented life in the army and colonial service.
  • At Danish universities, the students get to elect members of the University Board; members of the Academic Council, who advices the dean and hands out (Or denies, if need be) all academic titles such as Ph.D.'s, Professorates and Doctorates; and members of the Study Board, which decides on all matters related to education at the particular department. While the students are a minority in both the Board and the Council, they have an equal vote with the academic staff at the Study Boards (Usually 4 representatives each), leading to this trope being somewhat justified. Further, since all these elections are usually won by the Students Councils, the Councils themselves do wield considerable power.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Student Council


The Red Crayon Aristocrats

The Aristocrat Club controls the orphanage and its tier system tot he point where they hold more power than the adults who run it.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / AbsurdlyPowerfulStudentCouncil

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