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School is intended for children to be educated to prepare them for adulthood. While on school grounds, both students and staff must adhere to certain policies and guidelines. Most Writers Are Adults, but not all writers are teachers, which means that they won't know everything about what should be allowed in school and what shouldn't. Even if they did, they probably would ignore them just for the sake of the story.

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Sometimes, this can be the result of Eagleland Osmosis and/or Creator Provincialism, if the work is set in a country other than the one the creator went to school in and the creator was unable or unwilling to research how that country's school system works. Sometimes, of course, Reality Is Unrealistic; while having a work where American students wear uniforms and refer to the head of the school as a "headmaster" instead of "principal" may seem like this trope, there are many private schools in the U.S. where this is standard practice.

    Specific instances of this trope 
  • Schools having outlandish rules or practices that wouldn't be in a real-life school or not having a certain rule that they should have in place, such as not having a dress code.
  • Schools following a system that does not match the setting/culture of the work. This is especially common with American-made works that take place in a non-American setting. Examples of this include having high school graduation ceremonies in a country that only does ceremonies for university or starting the academic school year in the wrong month (America starts in late August/early September, while other countries usually start earlier, such as in April or even January).
  • Schools having No OSHA Compliance and/or issues getting to places such as class, the lunchroom, or the bathroom safely.
  • Students being allowed to bring animals that aren't certified service animals into school. Animals could trigger people's allergies, cause messes, or attack people, which could result in lawsuits.
  • Physical education, in particular, resembling a military training program more than a school that would typically have to consider disabilities.
  • If students or teachers misbehave (Teachers mistreating students/other teachers, students bullying other kids or teachers, etc.), punishments are either too excessive, too light, or flat-out nonexistent, and the staff may even deliberately let them get away with it.
  • Detentions being insanely long,note  having insane punishments like being forced to wax entire rooms with a toothbrush, and/or having actual torture going on.
  • The school is a School of No Studying, where the kids don't have to do any work despite the fact that it's required.
  • Teaching using E = MC Hammer-like equations.
  • Teachers and staff outright encouraging bullying between the students.
  • Teachers being allowed to teach despite having a criminal record, or the school actually having a criminal employment policy for jobs where, even if it were okay to be employing criminals, people of that crime shouldn't be employed to that position (a convicted pedophile running a daycare, for example).
  • There are not enough teachers at the school to adequately accommodate a large student body (the average class size for a grade school classroom is about twenty-four students for every teacher in the school).
  • Anachronisms in how the school's run. Corporal Punishment would be the most obvious, but others include learning to read with a slate or having a centuries-old curriculum. The inverse is also the case, like having ancient Greeks with a Women's Studies course.
  • Schools having classes that don't exist in the real world (Plant Psychology, for example).
  • Teachers teaching subjects that are either too difficult or too easy for a grade level.
  • Parallels drawn between the classroom and a Soviet-style organization where Big Brother Is Watching, a military organization, feudal Japan, or a similarly controlling setting.
  • Teacher with tenures being able to break the rules without any punishment whatsoever, or a tenured teacher getting fired for a minor infraction. While the former can (sadly) be Truth in Television, tenured teachers do not get fired easily. Tenured teachers have to do something really bad in order to to get fired (such as hitting a kid or say/do something controversial), and even non-tenured teachers wouldn't get fired for a minor infraction — at worst, they'd get a stern talking-to from one of their higher-ups before being sent back to their classroom.
  • A student being taught by a parent or another relative. Schools in Real Life usually separate them to avoid favoritism issues, with the only exception being if that relative is the only teacher for that class.
  • Students attending classes on days where school usually isn't open, such as on holidays or weekends.
  • School staff being allowed to date each other, especially if they teach the same subject and/or work in an elementary school or similar setting. In real life, fraternization between teachers is usually not allowed, and when it is, it's heavily stigmatized because of possible violations of personal display of affection, especially around young children. There are also fears of causing favoritism issues (such as the teacher getting a job because they are dating a member of the staff). Even in schools that do allow teachers to date each other, they aren't usually allowed to teach the same subject due to these aforementioned issues.
  • Elementary-age students being left unattended for long periods of time in places where there should be an adult watching them, such as in the classroom, lunchroom, or playground. Leaving elementary-schoolers alone without adult supervision is bound to cause an accident that a teacher won't be able to prevent because they weren't watching the kids in the first place.
  • School staff making important decisions without permission from higher-ups.
  • Unqualified teachers being hired, likely due to the school not doing any background checks.
  • Public schools allowing the teaching and practicing of different religions and cultures at a school, which would only be allowed in special private schools.
  • School meals being portrayed as Foul Cafeteria Food, with the kids having to choose between eating it and going hungry. Not only does the food served in real life school cafeterias have to meet certain standards when it comes to nutrition, failing to make allowances for special dietary needs is a form of discrimination and, in the case of kids with allergies, can be downright dangerous.

Be mindful of Values Dissonance when adding examples. If something in a school is acceptable in one place/time period but not another, and the work takes place in the former, then it doesn't count (ex: Corporal punishment is not allowed in modern-day Western schools, but in schools from the past or in other parts of the world, it is acceptable).

A Super-Trope to:

See also Sucky School where these inaccurate portrayals are used specifically to depict the school as terrible. Related to Fiction Isn't Fair.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In My Hero Academia, we have Shota "Eraser Head" Aizawa's infamous (especially In-Universe) act of expelling an entire class of U.A. on the very first day because he didn't think they would cut it as Heroes (because they didn't take the Quirk Apprehension Test that students take on that day as seriously as Aizawa wanted). While this demonstrates that he is a serious Sink-or-Swim Mentor,note  the fact still stands that Aizawa performed this action with no red tape getting in the way, and even by the current day of the story, the people in charge of administering U.A. still have not put anything in place to prevent him from doing it again.
    • This is somewhat subverted later on, since the story explains that Aizawa required the authority to temporarily expel students at the beginning of the year in order to be hired at U.A., with his reasoning being the need for them to experience their "death" in order to show them how serious the profession is. Additionally, it's seen by the rest of the staff as something absurd at the absolute best, and it's also pointed out that, temporary or not, the expulsions still go into the students' permanent records.

    Comic Books 
  • In Archie Comics, Dumb Jock Crazy Jealous Guy Moose constantly gets away with assaulting other students in and out of school with no consequences from any adults who see it.
  • In Titeuf, the main characters are in elementary school, but they're seen in-class learning things that they wouldn't normally learn until later, such as square roots (which is usually taught in middle school).
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Cassie's history teacher never gets questioned or reprimanded for targeting Cassie for detentions every time he suspects she's not paying complete attention in his class. Additionally, she doesn't pay attention because she already knows everything he's teaching and can answer his questions when he snaps at her in class to try to catch her off guard, which he then decides aren't respectful and gets her sent to after-school detention.
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    Comic Strips 
  • In Calvin and Hobbes, the schoolwork done in Calvin's first-grade class ranges from basic addition to knowing where the Byzantine Empire was, the latter of which isn't even taught to high schoolers.
  • Played for Laughs in Peanuts, where Charlie Brown (who's implied to be in second or third grade) gets assigned to read War and Peace and is forced to do complex math equations, to emphasize his Butt-Monkey nature.

    Fan Works 
  • Coyote: As mentioned under the Anime & Manga folder, Aizawa's special dispensation to expel students under his own authority from Canon is highlighted further here, in an "I don't know what the hell I was thinking when I allowed it" fashion.
  • Light of the Fireflies Trilogy: In Part 2, Setsuko's school follows the Western school year, which starts in autumn and finishes at the beginning of summer. In Japan, the school year actually begins in the spring. Averted in Part 3, where the school follows the Japanese school year.

    Films — Animated 
  • An Extremely Goofy Movie: Sylvia mentions that the university library uses the Dewey Decimal classification system. While a lot of public schools and libraries do use the Dewey Decimal System, most large educational institutions' libraries use the Library of Congress classification system, a somewhat newer system that uses a combination of letters and numbers to classify materials.
  • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, Twilight's crown is mistaken for the Fall Formal crown. In order for her to reclaim it, Twilight decides to run for Princess of the Fall Formal in order to earn it legitimately, which she has to sign up for with the principal. In reality, that fact would derail the scheme very quickly because doing so would likely require someone to look into her academic standing, which would reveal that she was never enrolled as a student. Additionally, even if the faculty assumed that she hadn't been officially put in the system yet due to being a new student, a look into her academic portfolio would reveal that she had never attended any prior schools.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls Movie, the titular heroes end up destroying Pokey Oaks Kindergarten (as well as the rest of Townsville) on their first day after using their powers during a game of tag. The next day, they and the other students have to come in despite the school being in shambles. In real life, children would not be allowed to come into a school building that is half destroyed, and classes would either be canceled or held somewhere else until the original building is fixed.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the main characters are assigned to clean out an obnoxiously cluttered room for their detention, as if their punishment leading from their various infractions was designed as a unique occasion. In reality, detention is far too common to have special assignments like this, and would typically just have the kids be forced to sit in a defined area with no stimuli for a length of time to punish them with boredom (i.e., they are being detained).
  • In The Story of Luke, Luke was a homeschooled kid whose grandmother was often too sick to teach, causing him to graduate high school at age 24. In real life, Luke would be legally entitled to an education, and if his family couldn't give him one, either the state would provide a tutor or he would be forced to go to school.
  • In the film adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are, Max's astronomy teacher tells the class about how everything is going to die one day and lists the possible ways that humanity could be wiped out. He tells all of this to a bunch of 9-year-old kids, and he does so cheerfully as if he doesn't see anything wrong with it.

    Literature 
  • Carrie: Most schools have qualifications that a candidate for prom queen must meet, such as being a model student, being actively involved in school activities, and being well-liked by the student body. There is no way that Carrie would have qualified (especially for that last point), so the book has the school only vote for the male candidates, and their dates are just along for the ride (it's mentioned that the girls think this is sexist).
  • In Charlotte's Web, Avery brings a gun to school and nothing is ever said about it. While the book was written in and takes place in the 1950s, when there was much less hysteria over guns in schools, there should have at least been some concern about a ten-year-old bringing a weapon to school.
  • In the children's book A Fine Fine School by Sharon Creech, the principal of the main character's school loves his school so much that he says that there will be classes on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, and during the summer. Not only would this almost certainly be illegal (since kids are required to have at least some time off from school), but the principal should not have any authority to make this decision without any input from the school board.
  • The title character of Franny K. Stein doesn't face any repercussions or trouble for bringing her dog Igor to school in Attack of the 50-Ft. Cupid and The Frandidate.
  • Harry Potter:
    • By normal-school standards, the Hogwarts teachers are far too overworked. The Heads of Houses are also teachers in core subjects, and Professor McGonagall is also the Deputy Headmistress on top of being Transfiguration teacher and Head of House for Gryffindor.
    • Severus Snape shows blatant favoritism towards the Slytherin House by taking points from other houses get point deductions for flimsy reasons and either overlooking or not noticing Slytherin transgressions, and he treats Harry like crap because his father used to bully him. He also has a practical lesson on his first day of class, using materials that can and do result in student injury if handled improperly without first ensuring that the students know enough about proper lab technique to follow instructions safely, something that would get a real chemistry teacher sacked on the spot. Dumbledore is aware of this and never tries to reign Snape in because he values having a defected Death Eater more than having a competent teacher. In fact, none of the teachers seem to show any concern for classroom safety given all the ways spells can go wrong or magic creatures can hurt people.
    • Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is an attention seeker who is later revealed to be a fraud. On the first day of the school year, he has his students do a pop quiz that's just about himself. In a normal school situation, the fact that a new teacher has middle-school-age students do a graded quiz on their first day back would get them reprimanded and likely lead to them being briefly suspended — said quiz having nothing to do with the subject and being blatantly ego-inflating would have the teacher's future classes be supervised by a higher-up at the very least. Following that up with a practical demonstration that he almost immediately loses control of and then leaves his students to clean up after would also put him in hot water.
    • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Dolores Umbridge puts Harry in detention for entire evenings, and the higher-ups are okay with this, even though it means he has to stay up past midnight to complete his homework for other subjects. Even if she were just making him write regular lines (and not making him writes lines with a Blood Quill), this would still be considered disproportionate. Umbridge also tells Harry and the Weasley twins they will receive a lifetime ban from playing Quidditch after they get into a fight with Malfoy and his cronies after a match. While she might have the authority to have Harry and the Weasley twins removed from the Gryffindor Quidditch team, banning someone from playing Quidditch for life would most likely be a matter for the Department of Magical Games and Sports, not a schoolteacher. Granted, the story states that Umbridge was a Ministry-appointed hire, so it's likely that Dumbledore and the others aren't in much of a position to put a stop to it.
  • Katy by Jacqueline Wilson (an updated version of What Katy Did, in which the protagonist's accident leaves her permanently, not temporarily as in the original, paralysed) takes a few liberties when it comes to how an accident involving a disabled pupil would be handled. During a PE lesson, Katy crashes her wheelchair into another girl, who complains to her mother. The mother then reports the incident to the headmistress, who takes the on-the-spot decision that Katy is a danger to herself and others and forbids her to take part in contact sports, or even rough games in the playground. While this would be believable as a short-term sanction to teach Katy to be more careful in future, the fact that the headmistress tells Katy she can never take part in such activities on school premises again is not. Using "health and safety" as a spurious reason to exclude a disabled pupil from an activity is discrimination and would be grounds for their parents or guardians to sue the school. It's also unlikely that the decision would have been taken without consulting Katy's father and stepmother.
  • In Matilda, the Trunchbull's reign of terror over the students of Trunchem Hall. Sure, it is Roald Dahl (who actually wrote about how he had to endure a Boarding School of Horrors in his autobiography) and Adults Are Useless and so on, but no matter how over-the-top Trunchbull goes with her cruelty, somebody would have thought it weird to hear their kid talking about how there was an Iron Maiden in their school, or how Trunchbull used a kid as a human cannonball toss.
  • The minor British Boarding School of Horrors at the heart of the molesworth stories is based on reality (the author was a teacher), but wildly exaggerated for the sake of comic parody. The sadism and insanity of the staff and senior boys is an obvious case in point.
  • Even though Woodwalkers is supposed to be set in the US, it still uses the German grade system with "One" as the best grade and "Six" as the worst grade.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy is trying to get into a full class at the beginning of her Freshman year by talking to the professor on the first day of class. The professor viciously mocks her in front of the rest of the class, which then breaks out into laughter. In Real Life, having some sort of waitlist and/or force-add option is fairly standard practice, and the worst that would happen would usually be the annoyed professor saying something to the effect of "I don't do waitlists". In addition, if a professor were to do this in real life, the reaction from the rest of the students would likely be silent shock as they realized that this cruel teacher was going to be grading them for the rest of the semester, instead of joining in on the laughter.
  • A variation in Code Red: The Firefighter Explorers Program is a training program that teaches firefighting skills and has an age range of early teens to early twenties, which means that Danny, who is a preteen at most, would be too young to join. This may be justified in that he's Joe's adopted son and he allows him to be part of the program.
  • Greendale Community College in Community is completely unlike any community college in real life. The campus allows alcohol, which is not allowed at campus-sponsored activities even if everyone is of drinking age due to due to regulations and by-laws. This is especially important in "The Politics Of Human Sexuality"; a lack of alcohol and the subsequent sexy activities would have made the last few moments much less urgent and funny. Greendale also has lockers.
  • In the second season of Dance Academy, Saskia Duncan shows contempt towards Tara because she's jealous of her dancing skills and injures Tara's back when she forces her into a dangerous stretch. When Ben (who witnessed this) tells Miss Raine what happened, she doesn't fire Saskia, but makes her apologize, which she refuses to do. While she ends up quitting anyway when her students harass her over the incident, Miss Raine should have actually fired Saskia, since in Australia (and most western countries, for that matter) injuring a student is grounds for immediate termination.
  • Drake & Josh:
    • In the episode "Megan's New Teacher", Josh becomes a student-teacher for Megan's class and makes them read college-level textbooks, which they obviously can't understand. Even worse is that the parents of the kids don't complain to the school about why their kids are being forced to do college homework despite being aware of it (especially since none of the parents could do the work).
    • In "Josh Is Done", Josh is late for a chemistry exam because of Drake. His teacher kicks him out of the classroom, makes him take a make-up exam at 6 A.M. on a Saturday, and docks his grade by a whole letter. This all should have gotten Mr. Roland in serious trouble because 1) most schools don't allow teachers to kick out students for being tardy, 2) schools aren't usually open that early on weekends, even for Saturday detentions (schools who do hold Saturday detentions usually have them start sometime from 7:00 to 9:00 A.M., and they don't let students take tests during them), and 3) docking grades for tardiness is too severe of a punishment, even if it was for missing an exam. While he does take back the grade deduction after Josh gets a perfect score on the make-up exam, everything else still applies.
  • Glee runs on this.
    • A teacher who not only bullies students but encourages them to do it to others, a student with a 0.0 GPA being permitted to do athletic competitions, a club that seems to meet at all hours of the day, a Spanish teacher who isn't actually qualified on the subject (and has to go to night school to learn the subject he's supposed to be teaching), a female student being punished by the glee club coach for refusing to wear a clamshell bikini during a performance (it's important to note that she is 15 years old and has an eating disorder that the coach already knew about), a student in a wheelchair being allowed to play football by invoking Loophole Abuse, a teacher becoming so close to his students that one of them is the best man at his wedding,the student who brought a gun to school post-Columbine, the list goes on.
    • Another one is the entire concept of school districts. Blaine and Unique both transfer to McKinley High despite not actually living in Lima, Ohio. Unique is from Akron, and Blaine is presumably from the Columbus area since Westerville (the home of Dalton Academy) is a suburb. Ignoring the fact that Lima is about two hours away from both cities, in Ohio it is illegal for parents to send their kids to public schools outside of the district where they pay local taxes, and parents have even been prosecuted for this.
  • House of Anubis:
    • The show takes place in the UK, but was broadcast for a largely American audience on Nickelodeon. So, the portrayal of schooling is very much American-based and not UK-based, right down to The Movie taking place at the students' high school graduation... something that doesn't exist in the UK, as they don't consider graduating from High School an achievement the same way Americans do. This was most likely done so the American audience could understand what was happening, despite it being unrealistic for the setting.
    • The headmaster, Mr. Sweet, is also the school's science teacher. In the show, this just means that he's either in his office doing headmaster work, or teaching the students in the science lab, with little emphasis being made about his dual role. In real life, this would be way too much work, as he'd have to do administrative work in addition to grading papers, giving tests, and actually teaching the class.
  • iCarly: In the episode "IChristmas",note  school is shown being open even though it's during the Christmas season. Even if it's not actually Christmas, most schools let students go on winter break for the weeks of Christmas and New Year's Day so they can spend some time with relatives.
  • MacGyver (2016): Almost all universities require their professors to have a doctorate in their field. As an MIT dropout with an honorary B.S. from a much less prestigious college, Mac would not be able to become a professor in only 18 months.
  • In the Odd Squad episode "First Day", the classroom seen in the Odd Squad Academy doesn't look like a classroom one would find in an elementary school — rather, it looks more like a college classroom. Similarly, the Investigation portion of the Academy has students roaming around similar to a college.
  • The community college seen in The Parkers, Santa Monica College, has a tendency to depict activities and services usually associated with state universities. For example, community colleges don't have fraternities and sororities.
  • Ripping Yarns: "Tomkinson's Schooldays", being a surreal parody, is about a British Boarding School which is much weirder than ever existed in reality. Well, somewhat weirder.
  • Stargirl (2020): The episode after "Wildcat" is a Halloween Episode. That would place the Cold Open of this episode in July, a time when US schools aren't usually in session.
  • Cobra Kai:
    • In the episode "Counterbalance", Miguel beats up Kyler and his posse in the cafeteria and is dragged to the office where the counselor attempts to call his mother. However, Miguel's grandma, who doesn't speak English, answers the phone instead, and Miguel is implied to get away with the fight without his mother finding out and without a hint of some sort of punishment. In real life, Miguel would most likely be kept in the office until the school could get ahold of his mother, and he would certainly be getting suspended for fighting in school, as most schools have zero-tolerance policies and suspend everyone involved in a fight, regardless of who was actually fighting. It's odd because there's an aversion of this in the fallout to the West Valley Brawl of the season 2 finale, where everyone involved in that fight is suspended, while Tory and Robby are expelled (Tory for instigating the brawl by challenging Samantha to a fight and then injuring her, Robby for putting Miguel in the hospital with a spinal cord injury).
    • Kyler's gang has been terrorizing the school way more than anyone would be permitted. Most real life schools would notice Kyler drawing a schlong on Demetri's cast in season 3, or (more insanely) how Kyler holds Demetri's arm up and calls everyone's attention to it.

    Theatre 
  • The Shape of Things: Evelyn would need the approval of her professor to do her art project, and since it involves blatantly manipulating and publicly humiliating another person, no professor would approve it because doing so would mean they would be fired.

    Video Games 
  • Bully:
    • Dr. Crabblesnitch ignores the bullying going on at Bullworth Academy and even encourages it by claiming that it's "school spirit".
    • Beat up as many students and prefects as you want, you'll only either get sent to the Dean's office or get detention... at least until the climax where Jimmy finally gets expelled for his behavior — which gets reversed after defeating Gary.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel overlaps this with Mildly Military, due to the main setting being a military academy. For instance, it's mentioned that only forty percent of graduates from Thors' Military Academy end up joining the military, even though the entire purpose of a military academy is to produce junior officers. The behavior of the students also warrants discipline several times, yet the most anyone will get is a scolding for their actions. For instance, during one of the training exercises in the third game, Ash sneaks into the Hector one of the teachers was using during the exercise and attacks Rean unprovoked, forcing Rean to fight back. Despite attacking a teacher, Ash walks away with just a scolding for his actions.
  • Paper Chase: You can walk into college, enroll, and graduate on the same day, only needing to pass three exams. In real life, you would have to spend at least a few years in college in order to graduate, and no college only requires 3 tests for graduation.

    Visual Novels 
  • Being A DIK: Throughout the game, you, the DIKs, and the HOTs get away with much more than any real-life fraternity or sorority would be able to get away with, no matter how secretive they are. Also, even though B&R is a smaller school, there seems to be a distinct lack of different professors at the university.
  • The Freshman: Kaitlyn Liao misses all her midterms and winds up on academic probation near the end of the spring quarter. Thing is, that status results from a deficient GPA, which wouldn't update until the term is over. Additionally, she's also very lucky that all her classes would let her make up her midterms and coordinate well, which serves as an important wake-up call that turns Kaitlyn's character arc around.
  • High School Story:
    • Two major extracurricular activity groups (the cheerleading squad and the band) are allowed to meet completely unsupervised. In reality, even student-led extracurricular groups at public schools require a staff member to be present at on-campus meetings for liability reasons.
    • Though not impossible, it would be very unlikely for an underclassman (Jordan and Rory both being sophomores at the time they are crowned) to even be allowed to run for prom king or queen, much less win. In most schools, only upperclassmen are eligible for these positions, and some schools restrict it even further to only seniors.
  • In Melody, it is implied that Melody and Sophia have only one professor who teaches all of their music classes for the entire time they are at college. In reality, they would have many classes taught by several different professors.
    • Also, the girls look to sign up for a dorm at the beginning of the school year. Dorms are typically booked well in advance.

    Web Animation 
  • In Ollie & Scoops, Ollie is able to take her pet cat, Scoops, to school and no one says anything about it, not even her teacher or the principal.

    Webcomics 
  • The school staff in Ozy and Millie seem to encourage bullying in the school. The principal flat out won't do anything about Jerk Jock Jeremy because he thinks that bullying is something all children should go through, and when Millie's teacher punishes her for defending herself against Jeremy, she tells her mom that she feels that "it's easier" to punish the victim rather than the bully, which implies that she knows that Millie isn't at fault here and is just too lazy to do anything about it. The only one who seems to care about the well-being of the students is the school counselor, but the principal doesn't listen to her. While this is exaggerated for laughs, all of this is based on the creator's experiences with bullying in school.
  • The Paris-based English-language school in Sandra on the Rocks is just vaguely weird in countless ways (the American-style atmosphere, the uncontrolled sexual activities of many of the pupils, the uniforms, etc.), putting it more in line with American comedy comics and Japanese manga than anything you'd probably find in that place in reality.

    Web Original 
  • Comes up frequently and is often Played for Laughs in SuperMarioLogan.
    • In "Bowser Junior's Homework", Junior has to study for an exam at school the next day. Some of the subjects he has to study include calculus and Chinese, even though he's in Kindergarten. Chef Pee Pee Lampshades this, stating that he shouldn't even have to do that kind of stuff.
    • Everything about Jackie Chu. He gives his second-grade students difficult work (like giving the Junior homework on calculus), frequently insults his students and calls them dumb (though considering that he has people like Junior and Jeffy in his class, he's somewhat justified), acts inappropriate and frequently uses Asian stereotypes, and taught his class where babies came from. All the kids think he's cool, though.
    • In the "Bowser Junior's 1st Grade" series, a teacher at Junior's school named Mr. Winkle is revealed to be a pedophile and gets arrested. At a parent-teacher conference, it's revealed that Principal Steinbeck and Officer Goodman had already known about this, but they hired him anyway because he called them hot. It was only when they revealed this in front of a bunch of pissed off parents that they realized they'd been tricked.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball
    • Gumball's teacher Miss Simian dates the principal of the school, Principal Brown, and no one says anything about it. Relationships between school staff, let alone between a teacher and the principal, are not strictly illegal per se, but they are usually frowned upon because of the risk of personal display of affection, especially in front of elementary-age children, and because of concerns of favoritism. In fact, this is probably why Miss Simian is still a teacher at the school despite being a complete jerk to her students.
    • Late in the series, Principal Brown is revealed to have a fake diploma. How he managed to get a job with no credentials and avoid getting caught is anyone's guess.
    • In many episodes, Gumball receives detentions that are much longer than they would be in real life, such as in "The End" when he and Darwin got detention for six hours. The episode takes place within a time-span of an entire day, which means that they served the detention in one sitting.
  • American Dragon: Jake Long: Professor Rotwood somehow manages to get away with teaching a class about magical creatures in an ordinary high school. While it's possible that the class is officially about mythology (which some high schools do offer) and Rotwood's obsessions cause him to shift focus, it's still a stretch that he would be able to get away with this for years. Pushing things further, despite being arrested several times throughout the series (including on one occasion for kidnapping his own students), he's always back teaching in the next episode and even gets even promoted to principal in the second season. There's also the fact he calls himself "Professor" Rotwood despite being a high school teacher, not a college lecturer (while some high school teachers do try to do this, it's generally frowned upon).
  • The last season of As Told by Ginger had an episode where Ginger got Saturday detention. What for, exactly? Sleeping in English class because of a caffeine crash. While falling asleep in class would warrant a punishment, such as being told off by the teacher or getting a small detention after school on a weekday, no school would give a student Saturday detention for something like that. Additionally, the English teacher seems to have it out for Ginger because of a personal conflict with her cousin (Ginger's middle school English teacher), which implies that she actually was in more trouble than she deserved. This gets lampshaded by Ginger.
    Ginger: Saturday detention? It's not like I ran over her dog!
  • Double Subverted in the Clarence episode "Suspended", where Clarence and Sumo get suspended from school. Mr. Reese actually does try to call their parents to come get them, but he doesn't get an answer. Instead of keeping them until he can get ahold of their parents, he just sends them on their merry way. Of course, if he hadn't done that, then the two boys wouldn't have been there to save the school from an overheated boiler.
  • In the Danny Phantom episode "Splitting Images", Poindexter was ruthlessly bullied by everyone when he was in high school, and the principal even made bullying him a requirement to graduate. Even in the 1950s, a principal couldn't make bullying (especially bullying directed at a specific student) mandatory. Granted, this may just be a myth, since the story was told by Tucker (who was born long after the '50s).
  • In the Daria episode "Lucky Strike", when Ms. Li is hiring scab teachers to replace the ones on strike, she gets Daria to sub a class because she can't find anyone else. Not only does Daria not have the qualifications to be a teacher (you need at least a Bachelor's degree), but she's still attending the school.
  • The Fairly OddParents:
    • Crocker's Ultimate Job Security is the most obvious example. When he isn't ranting about fairies, he's intentionally causing his class to fail out of pure malice.
    • "Timvisible" takes place on the last day of school, yet classes are running like it's a normal day (most schools don't give assignments on the last day of school, and if they do they're not taken for a grade), and the classes seem to involve some high school level stuff (like dissecting frogs).
  • Fanboy and Chum Chum is oozing with examples of unrealistic school:
    • "Excuse Me": Fanboy, Chum Chum and Kyle get away with missing class constantly due to all kinds of unrealistic fake excuse notes, and Mr. Mufflin falls for all of them until it is discovered outright that they are lying. He even accepts an excuse note to excuse FanKyleChum (actually a real student) from class forever. Even with Rule of Funny in play, a teacher would eventually wise up to this.
    • "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha": Fanboy and Chum Chum accidentally end up in a kindergarten where they are forced to stay all day because the teacher refuses to believe that they're 5th graders. While there, they discover that their former classmate Marsha was sent here after Fanboy got snot all over her standardized test. No teacher would use something like this as a reason to send a student back five grades — at worst, she would either be held back or maybe sent back a grade. Additionally, considering why she failed the test, the school would have made Marsha retake the test at a later date, especially since it wasn't her fault the test got ruined.
    • According to Word of God, Chum Chum is two years younger than Fanboy, but is in the same class due to Fanboy sneaking him in and no one noticing. Evidently, Adults Are Useless is in full effect, and bureaucracy seems to barely exist in this world.
  • The Loud House:
    • In the episode "Teacher's Union", the kids are shown competing in a very hard obstacle course that would kill someone in real life (it had a giant block that crushes one kid). Then, at the end, the coach tries to outright murder Lincoln and Clyde. How he managed to not get fired for these actions is a mystery.
    • In the episode "Frog Wild", the 5th graders are dissecting live frogs. Not only is dissecting frogs something that is usually only done in middle school or high school, but most schools have the to-be-dissected frogs already dead specifically so students can't pull a Free the Frogs.
    • The episode "Snow Bored," Lisa tries to cancel a potential snow day by pointing out that brain functionality decreases for every school day someone misses. Even if what she says is Truth in Television, most school districts do require students to make up days where they unexpectedly miss school (which includes snow days) at either the end of the year or on designated days during the year, so students don't miss out on their education. So, even if the Loud siblings had a snow day, they would still need to make it up at some point, rendering Lisa's efforts to ruin everyone's snow day moot.
  • Happens In-Universe in Miraculous Ladybug. Chloé often avoids punishment or foists it off on someone else by threatening to call her father, the Mayor and have him close the school, which Mr. Damocles believes she can do. However, as the Mayor himself points out in "Malediktator", he can’t actually close the school for more than a few days without grossly exceeding his power.
  • In the Peanuts animated special Happy New Year, Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown's class is assigned War and Peace over winter break. Not only would an elementary school teacher not assign such a long and complicated book to read, but the students also would certainly not be expected to read the whole thing in such a short time — at most, they would be assigned a few selected chapters to read.note 
  • In the first episode of Rick and Morty, Morty's math teacher Mr. Goldenfold hands out a test to his students, which has at least six questions that all use addition. Morty is a 14-year-old boy who is supposed to be in a high school math class.
  • The Simpsons: Everything regarding Springfield Elementary, which is crappy to a point that is absurd or horrifying Depending on the Writer. The building is literally falling apart, children are fed shredded cushions, teachers not only ignore bullying but encourage it in a fashion worthy of The Social Darwinist and actively seek to destroy children's capacity to be anything but a drone (and a poorly-educated one at that), and there is a chapter in the school's charter that says that they won't care if children are killed under their watch (or at least Bart). The only limit the faculty has is that they don't let teachers physically attack children, and even that depends on the episode.
  • South Park: Most of the staff at South Park Elementary are extremely incompetent at their jobs, especially Mr. Garrison, who acts inappropriate in front of his students and is a jerkass on top of that. In one episode, sex ed was taught to the entire school, including Kindergartners. The closest thing the school had to a competent, responsible adult was Chef, a womanizing Casanova whose advice often caused misunderstandings, but he was eventually Killed Off for Real. Things only get worse when Principal Victoria is replaced by PC Principal, who yells at his students and is willing to assault them just for using microaggressions.
  • In SpongeBob SquarePants, there is a couple regarding Mrs. Puff's Boating School:
    • SpongeBob has caused a lot of destruction during his driver's tests, and yet he's still allowed to stay at the driving school, when in real life he would be kicked out after failing too many times. The only reason Mrs. Puff doesn't let him go is that she promised that she would never give up on any of her students, but it would probably make her life a lot easier if she did it just this once.
    • Mrs. Puff has been arrested several times due to SpongeBob's aforementioned destruction and other things out of her control. Even though most of the arrests were not her fault, the fact that she has an extensive criminal record means that she shouldn't be allowed to teach at the boating school anymore.
  • Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum: "I Am Helen Keller" as well as its sister episode, "I Am Alexander Graham Bell" portray clear speech as much easier to learn/achieve for profoundly deaf people than it typically is in real life, and the latter episode also features a deaf student reacting with an answer to Yadina talking to them before they've even turned their head to try reading her lips. To some extent, this can be forgiven due to the simplification of plots for the episodes — for instance, Helen Keller's episode omits her use of home signs (signs deaf children make up to communicate with their families before they are exposed to established sign languages) prior to Anne Sullivan's arrival.
  • The end of the Yogi's Treasure Hunt episode "Goodbye, Mr. Chump" has Dick Dastardly Writing Lines on the chalkboard, even though the episode is set at a university rather than a public school.
    Dick Dastardly: I hate being kept after class!
    Muttley: Pipe down and write!

Alternative Title(s): Artistic Licence Education

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