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Axes at School

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"And you can all hide behind your desks now!
And you can cry, 'teacher come help me'!
Through you all, my aim is true!"
The Offspring, "Hammerhead"

A student brings a weapon to school. They may not necessarily use it against anybody, but even then you can expect somebody's parents to panic about what could have happened. This plot will rarely last longer than a single Very Special Episode and can focus on the incident, the following consequences, or a mix of each.

Outside of characters designed to be antagonists, the person who brings the weapon is rarely a member of the core cast, since that would force the writers to either justify it in the audience's mind and/or come up with some way for them to get off scot-free. Unnamed background characters who attempt this are fair game for being caught and sent off to juvie, though. If they are a main character, expect for them to be gone from the show for a long time.

Unfortunately, this often tends to be Truth in Television, as school shooting tragedies such as Columbine have proven — otherwise, schools wouldn't have metal detectors and X-ray scanners, and teachers wouldn't be issued Kevlar vests and, in some US states, allowed to bring guns of their own. Of course, the real life portion of this is Older Than They Think; the Columbine incident in 1999 was simply one of a handful of shootings that earned national attention. In his book Brain Droppings, George Carlin refers to schoolyard deaths back in his childhood.

See Also: Guns in Church, School Is Murder. Compare Going Postal. Like Ax-Crazy, this doesn't necessarily involve an axe, it could be a gun or a knife, or hell, even more exotic weapons such as a chainsaw. Common target of the Spree Killer.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Angel Beats!, almost everyone with a name carries a weapon in school at some point (a school in the afterlife, but still).
  • In Aphorism, which takes place in a high school, most of the cast has some form of weapon...that they use to fight against the various monstrous things trying to kill them during the "God's Blight"s. The weapons are stored as characters somewhere on their bodies when not in use. For example:
    • Hirasawa Aira has a katana. Chisato has two.
    • Tatsumi dual-wields halberds.
    • Hokuto has a huge spear, complementing his twin, Nanto's, shield.
    • Noa uses a bow.
    • Rokudou uses swords, either a BFS (as Inner!Rokudou) or two longsword-like objects.
  • In Armed Girl's Machiavellism:
    • The Private Aiichi Symbiosis Academy allows its female students to carry blunt weapons (most have folding sticks, but the assistants to the Five Supreme Swords are more varied), and the Five Supreme Swords carry actual swords. This is the result of the school being originally reserved for girls, and when it became co-ed the female students were so scared of what they expected the boys to do them they demanded, and obtained, to carry weapons for defense and the student council turning into a vigilante group for the more extreme cases, and by the time of the series there's exactly one girl, Kirukiru Amou, who doesn't carry a weapon... Because her hands are more than enough.
    • At Hokkai, Aiichi's twin school, everyone carries weapons. It doesn't do them any good when Amou is transferred there while the Six King Swords are away.
  • The eponymous Assassination Classroom students use guns and knives on a daily basis to kill their teacher. The weapons used are harmless to humans, and the teacher is a Super-Speed creature who intends to blow up the Earth a year after making the Moon a permanent crescent. As this teacher's only class is located in a satellite building very isolated from the rest of the school (and whose students stay in that campus region during the school day), it's entirely reasonable that only those students, the principal, and the specific teachers using that building know the weapons exist.
  • Ayakashi Triangle: Soga and Matsuri are exorcist ninja who are shown to conceal kunai and shuriken in their school uniform—on top of wearing Transformation Trinkets that arm them further in their battle suit. They presumably have permission from the principal, who knows of their duties.
  • In Blood-C, Saya brought her katana to school and no one including her teacher noticed it. Tadayoshi told her to bring it with her in case an Elder Bairns appear. Then in episode 8, she brought it again and they started to notice it.
  • Chainsaw Man: The Devil Hunter Club at Four East High, which doubles as an Absurdly Powerful Student Council, bring weapons to school, though they're only shown carrying them in emergencies. Though guns are inaccessible to them as to most of the world, their armaments included swords, spiked knuckle dusters, and a crossbow. Considering the world-wide frequency of devil attacks, this is depressingly necessary.
  • Hiruma from Eyeshield 21 regularly brings guns to school, and gets away with it because he has dirt on the principal (and probably half of Japan, by the look of things).
  • Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu has Sousuke engage in this a lot as a source of humor, much like he does in the original series. In the final episode, Sōsuke orders a biowarfare agent from a military company and they send it to the school instead of his home address (to his credit, Sōsuke isn't happy and calls to complain). Then one of his classmates opens the thermos, exposing the entire school. Thankfully, after all the "We're gonna die!" drama, it turns out that the agent just dissolves synthetic clothing, but that's still not enough to spare Sōsuke from his classmates' wrath.
  • Yuno Gasai, of Future Diary, has no problem carrying a multitude of weapons with her wherever she goes, including knives, boxcutters, axes, needles...basically anything sharp she can carry around with her. You would not believe the body count she's accumulated over the course of the series. Keep in mind that she's a middle-school-age girl doing it all out of love.
  • Gabriel DropOut with Satanichia's gun she bought in Hell's online store. In this case, this is downplayed, since the gun is actually non-lethal, and all a shot can do is make its target laugh uncontrollably for ten minutes. It did not go as Satanichia planned.
  • Kill Me Baby:
    • Sonya regularly brings knives to school, and sometimes uses them on Yasuna. It's justified since she's an assassin and needs to have her weapons ready at all times in case she needs to kill someone, or a rival assassin targets her while she's attending school.
    • Agiri brings shurikens to school, as well as other gadgets like a bomb disguised as a fake hand. She casually mentions to Yasuna that she also has weapons like machine guns and rocket launchers in her arsenal.
    • Yasuna brings a water pistol to school in one skit, and nunchucks in another.
  • At the beginning of My-HiME, one of Haruka's complaints against Mai was that she brought a sword to school. It was actually Mikoto's.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Mana Tatsumiya is frequently seen with a gun of some sort in class, at least in the anime. It's never treated as odd and all she ever does with it is sit cleaning it or occasionally aim it at people to scare them. It's unlikely she actually brings ammo to class since you'd not want to try to clean a loaded gun. In the manga, she hides the guns better, although Setsuna carries a sword around literally all the time. Justified as both Mana and Setsuna are on the school's payroll, protecting it from malignant magical entities.
    • Setsuna hides hers in a long bag, so most people just assumes she has a shinai or bokutō used for Kendo practice. Mana, on the other hand, is on the Biathlon Club, so most people assume that the one visible gun is the airsoft rifle she uses there... And it's actually true, most of the time.
  • Parodied in Nichijou by Misato, the "gundere" who yanks military-grade firearms out of nowhere whenever she gets angry, i.e. at least once per appearance. Usually, she fires them at a certain classmate, who she has a crush on. No one reacts to the sight of such weapons and anyone hit by them receives Amusing Injuries, at worst, so whether they're real or all in her head isn't entirely clear.
  • Ranma ½: Kuno usually only carries a bokken around school, which is technically sports equipment (even if he gets into fights with it). However, one arc involves him winning a wish-granting (metal) sword, which he carries into class without comment.
  • The story of Saitama Chainsaw Shoujo centers around the main character bringing her chainsaw to school... and using it on everybody.
  • Spoofed in Urusei Yatsura: Ataru shoots a movie about delinquent students and shows fairly realistic ways they could hide weapons in their clothes... Then one of Lum's devices brings the movie characters into reality, and one of them pulls an axe from behind his sunglasses and the two girls fire missiles from under their skirts.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: Deconstructed in Season 5 episode 22, where Careless S. uses his weapons in Superstar School. While it's true that he uses them to fight villains, Careless S., being... well, careless, often ends up destroying parts of the school building by accident in using his guns and whatnot. Headmaster Tele acts accordingly and confiscates Careless S.'s weapons... not that it stops Careless from hiding weapons throughout the school.

    Comic Books 
  • A gun being brought into Tim Drake's (a.k.a Robin's) school drives the plot of the 1993 one-shot Batman: Seduction of the Gun. It was also the subject of a storyline in the regular Robin title.
  • Warren Ellis wrote a story for Hellblazer called "Shoot" that suggested that the systemic problems of society contributed to the don't-care-if-they-live-or-die attitude of some school shooters... and their victims. It was scheduled to run after the Columbine shooting and pulled for obvious reasons; Ellis quit the title rather than make changes to the story the higher-ups demanded. It was finally published in its original form as a part of a Hellblazer anthology in 2014.
    John Constantine: (reviewing a videotape of the shooting) He's drawn the gun. And none of these kids are running away. I see kids in a schoolyard in some dead-end hole of a town in some asshole county in some crumbling state with no education and no hope and no future and they're waiting. They're just standing there.
  • In the 2000s Spider-Man arc "Skin Deep", we see an incident from Peter's schooldays where a kid who got picked on even worse than him brought a knife to school for self-defence. When a teacher found it, Peter took the heat for him, claiming that it was his uncle's knife and he wanted to sharpen it in shop class as a "surprise". The present-day Peter, narrating, notes that the only reason he wasn't expelled was that the idea of a giant nerd like him wanting to knife someone was unbelievable.
    "It was, you understand, a different world then."
  • Transmetropolitan has a scene where Channon explains to Yelena that the first time she used a particular model of gun was to stop a classmate from raping a friend. While they were on the school bus. When Yelena meekly says that they checked for guns at her private school, Channon says, "So did mine. To make sure we had them."
  • In Ultimate Spider-Man, New Transfer Student Gwen Stacy sees Peter getting bullied and threatens the tormentors with a knife. She gets in deep trouble with the school for this, though she's soon allowed back in class after making an apology (it helps that her dad's a police captain). When her dad starts chewing her out for it, she shoots back that he never even bothered to ask her if she had justification.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dogbert from Dilbert once worked as a substitute teacher in a public school, resulting in the line "Eugene! Release those hostages or I shall be forced to fling this chalk eraser at your head!"
  • Linus van Pelt from Peanuts provides a weird example with his trademark Security Blanket. He takes it with him to school, to which Charlie Brown asks him if other kids find it weird. Upon whipping a nickel away with the force of a real whip, Linus points out that they don't say much about him having his blanket with him.

    Fan Works 
  • This Destiny of the Shrine Maiden doujin discusses this trope in light of the 2012 Sandy Hook School shooting.
  • In the Discworld fanfics by A.A. Pessimal, the Assassins' Guild School, an institution where pupils are expected to bring weaponry, is expanded from its portrayal in canon. Pupils of different ethnicities, and indeed, species, may carry culturally approved weapons if these are an accepted part of everyday dress. A Dwarf pupil is allowed to take her axe into class, and a Zulu pupil is permitted an assegai of regulation length. At all other times, approved weapons, and only approved weapons, are to be kept securely in a School-issue armoire in their dorm. These are regularly inspected to ensure only approved weapons are kept in there. A typical dorm inspection happens here
  • Doing It Right This Time: Asuka obtained three handguns for Shinji, Rei and herself. They carried them everywhere, including school, hidden in their outfits or handbags. Their guardian Misato did like not it, but Asuka argued that they needed extra protection, and if they could be trusted with a giant robot then they could be trusted with a gun.
  • A number of Harry Potter fanfics posit that every single student and teacher at any magic school is actually armed due their magic wands. Considering that, with proper training, a wand can cause small explosions, cut and bludgeon things and people, and even make them drop dead and aside for the illegal Killing Curse they're actually taught those at school, they may have a point.
  • The Key to a Successful Interview: Early on in the story, a news report mentions that a JSDF base was broken in and an A-10 "Thunderbolt II" (a plane normally used for tank-hunting) was stolen. Turns out, it was stolen by Shampoo, who took the fighter's 30mm cannon and uses it later to demolish Furinkan High with gunfire (the cafeteria because that's where her target was, the rest of the building because she literally thought "what the hell"), trying to kill Akane and giving absolutely zero shits about any people caught in the crossfire (although, miraculously, there were no fatalities). Later on the story, she becomes part of Ranma's group saying that Defeat Means Friendship, but considering that she pulled off one of the most devastating In-Universe school shootings in Japanese history and is running around free and unpunished by the law, it's quite understandable that all other characters remain quite wary of her.
  • In Master Potter of Kamar-Taj, Harry brings Dragonfang - a sentient sword carved from the tooth of an interdimensional dragon - to school. When it is confiscated, Harry makes the argument that wands are equally as dangerous.
    Harry: Sir, Dragonfang has been with me for over two years, and I've formed a bond with it. It's the only tie I have to home while I'm here. Please, I don't use it, it's just to have, like a paperweight in the shape of a gun.
    Dumbledore: I'm sorry Harry, but it's a very dangerous weapon. It's not that I don't trust you, it's that I'm worried another student will be hurt by it like Mr. Weasley was when he found it.
    Harry: Dangerous? The spells we fire from our wands can kill people, and you won't let me have a dagger?!
  • A literal example occurs in the Hetalia: Axis Powers fan fiction Outcast. Administrators of the St. Hetalia Academy for Boys actually allow student Denmark to bring his giant heirloom battleaxe to school — provided it's securely bolted to the wall of his dorm room and only ever used as a decoration. Of course, those precautions mean nothing when Denmark flies into a berserker rage and rips the bolts out of the wall when he tries to kill Sweden.
  • Shinji and Warhammer40k: Kensuke kept several dozens of bolter guns stored in his school's attic per Shinji's instructions in case his schoolmates needed to defend themselves. Although it sounds like a spectacularly bad idea, Shinji's foresight saved his schoolmates lives when Matarael's spawn invaded the city.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Angel (1984): Responding to Ric's accusations that Molly is a prostitute, Miss Allen searches her locker and finds the small automatic she purchased planning to hunt down the Serial Killer.
  • April Showers, written and directed by a survivor of the school massacre and loosely based on it.
  • The protagonist of The Basketball Diaries has a dream where he sees himself wearing a trenchcoat and bringing a shotgun to shoot up most of his class, while his friends cheer him on.
  • In Boot Camp, Danny is sent to Camp Serenity for planning a school shooting, although he claims this was just a persona he created to freak his parents.
  • In The Breakfast Club, Brian is in detention for bringing a gun to school, presumably to kill himself because he didn't want to face his parents' reactions to him failing shop class. The school found out he'd brought it when it went off in his locker. However, it was a flare gun, not an actual gun, which is part of the reason it went off prematurely. Brian is in detention not because of what he brought, but because the gun damaged the school's lockers when it went off.
  • The Made-for-TV Movie Detention The Siege At Johnson High (aka Hostage High and Target for Rage), a loose dramatization of the 1992 Lindhurst High School shooting. A high school dropout returns to his alma mater to kill the history teacher he blames for him flunking out, and winds up taking over sixty students and faculty hostage.
  • Dora and the Lost City of Gold: Dora packs survival gear, such as flares and a large knife.
  • Duck The Carbine High Massacre was the Exploitation Film version, released just six months after the massacre. Notably, the filmmakers were involved in a real-life version of this trope, having brought real guns onto a high school campus in order to shoot their movie — which got them arrested, a fact that they proudly boasted about on the film's poster ("the controversial film that landed its filmmakers in jail!").
  • Gus Van Sant's Elephant (2003) is one of the more famous examples, a Slice of Life story following several high school students whose normal day is violently interrupted when two boys, possibly influenced (or not) by a mix of violent video games, neo-Nazism, bullying, and more, show up to start killing people.
  • The Faculty has Zeke pulling a gun on the principal, who he and his friends suspect to be controlled by the alien Puppeteer Parasite, in the gym and forcing her to snort his homemade drug (which dehydrates and kills the parasites) or else he'll shoot her. She refuses and threatens to have him expelled, which is not the wisest thing to say to somebody who is holding a gun to your head. That said, she was possessed, which lets her get right back up until the other protagonists dump a ton of Zeke's powdered drug all over her face, killing her for good. One of the rare instances where the kid with the gun is portrayed as the unambiguous hero, and a clear sign that the film was released four months before Columbine.
  • The Fallout deals with the emotional aftermath of a school shooting, which is shown offscreen in the first act.
  • The Girl From Monday: Students are now required to have guns in school, in self-defense.
  • In Heathers, J.D. brings a revolver (loaded with blanks) to school and "shoots" two kids in the cafeteria. It gets Played for Laughs. Not to mention he wears a trench coat for the entire movie. Yeah... kind of says something about when the film was made. Of course, it also says something about its genre.
  • Played for Laughs in Not Another Teen Movie, in which Jake - in an effort to woo Janey - starts singing "Janey's Got a Gun", which everyone else takes literally. Including school security.
  • In Parenthood, Kevin is at the top of a tower shooting at everyone in sight with an assault rifle in Gil's second Flash Forward to Kevin's college graduation.
  • Run Hide Fight, which can be summed up as "Die Hard during a school shooting" and is loosely based on various real-life massacres. A group of kids led by a sociopathic Attention Whore start massacring their classmates and take the rest hostage, livestreaming it all so that they can become famous.
  • The original ending for Saved! called for Hilary Faye to snap, grab a rifle, and shoot up her prom after she got expelled. A scene earlier in the film of Hilary at a gun range was originally meant to foreshadow the ending.
  • In Storm, made in 1987, Booker threatens a fellow student at gunpoint, and none of the witnesses so much as tell a teacher. The gun was a water pistol loaded with ketchup, as the film predates the law requiring toy guns to look fake. A major plot point involves two main characters sneaking up and shooting each other with dart pistols every day.
  • The Cruel Twist Ending of The Wave (2008) occurs when Tim, the class's loner desperately seeking friends, has a Freak Out when his teacher reveals what the Wave movement truly is and pulls out a gun because how dare he destroy the only thing that allowed Tim to connect with the rest of the class. The teacher is able to talk down Tim from shooting anybody else, but Tim blows his brains out and the teacher is arrested as a result.
  • Zero Day is a found-footage take on the shooting, inspired by the video diaries that the Columbine killers kept.

  • Afterglow (2015): Literally. One of Josie's classmates, under the effects of 2015E's power attacks people with an axe at the Overton homecoming dance.
  • In one of the Alex Rider books, the Teen Superspy protagonist has one of his gadgets — an explosive device disguised as a pen — left over after one of his missions and decides to take it to school with him, mostly because he figures his Secret-Keeper best friend will get a kick out of seeing it, but he also semi-jokingly considers setting it off outside the teacher's lounge. It turns out to be an important Chekhov's Gun when he's kidnapped by the Big Bad before he can get to school.
  • Circleverse: A rare version where the main character is caught with it in Circle of Magic book one, Sandry's Book. The (recently) ex-Street Urchin Briar Moss is having a lot of trouble adjusting to his new school dormitory. When the other boys pick a fight with him, the fact that he pulls knives on them in self-defence means he's the one who gets kicked out.
    "Whatever else, I want him out of here," the man holding Briar snapped. He shook the boy hard. "Knives have no place in a boys' dormitory!"
    "Depends on the dormitory," muttered Briar.
  • In the Discworld, The Assassins' Guild School subverts this trope somewhat, in that pupils are actually expected to bring weapons to school. It is mandatory, given what the school teaches. The Approved Equipment List issued to parents right at the start stipulates what is needed. However, fearsome rules govern who can carry what according to age and status, and pupils are expected to keep their hardware safely locked up outside lessons. In certain extraordinary circumstances, a pupil might be permitted to carry an otherwise unapproved weapon; it is accepted that Dwarf pupils may carry an axe for Cultural reasons.
  • Empire Falls: John Voss the creepy kid, who is revealed to have dumped his grandma's body in the woods, comes back to school and shoots four people, three fatally.
  • Full Metal Panic!:
    • A large amount of the comedy in the series is derived from Sōsuke's possession and use of weapons in inappropriate situations due to his military background and paranoia. Since he's a bodyguard for someone who actually does have people trying to kill or capture her, and is undercover as a high school student, this naturally occurs a lot at the school itself. What is more funny (or disturbing) is that the few times someone (especially Kaname) has brought to attention the fact he's bringing military-grade firepower to a Japanese school (which makes it illegal twice or even thrice over) nobody else gives a damn and even take Sagara's explanations (yes, he destroyed school property, but he had to be sure that there was no way some kind of assassination method could happen) at face value (it is heavily implied that MITHRIL is bribing the hell out of the school, however).
    • Sōsuke tries to bring his automatic sidearm to school on the first day, in public, without any attempt to hide it at all. The teacher doing the bag check assumes it's a model, confiscating the thing and letting him off with a stern warning.
    • He also has no problem dealing with some tampering with his shoe locker (that turned out to be a girl putting a typical "I love you, sempai!" kind of letter inside) by blowing up the whole damn shoe locker row with C-4 (he thought that the tamperer had left a booby-trap bomb behind, you see). He "meets" the girl afterwards by staking out the meeting point with a sniper rifle.
  • In The Living Dead, Greer's younger brother Conan, after seeing the beginnings of the Zombie Apocalypse in the trailer park, brings his rifle to their high school and begins shooting former classmates and people who bullied him.
  • In Pygmy, the Teen Superspy Villain Protagonist takes down a fellow student who shoots up the Model United Nations meeting. The fallout from this incident, with Pygmy becoming a hero in the media and at school, causes him to start doubting his mission to destroy America.
  • The protagonist of Rage (1977) first carries a pipe wrench to school before upgrading to a handgun.
  • Raise Some Hell: Justified, as it's a school for defending the world against demons. Even though this ends up being a lie perpetrated by Lucifer/Satan to get people to send their souls to Hell
  • She Is The One: A gun is found in Jack's high school locker. It's pretty quickly proven to not be his, but it's still far more than he was prepared to deal with when he walked into school that morning.
  • In Spellbinder (1996), Randy, Blaise's Psycho Ex-Boyfriend from her previous school, turns up to Lake Mead High's Homecoming Dance armed with a straight razor. He cuts himself on the cheeks and threatens people with it, slashing one boy on the arm when he tries to talk him down. Eric and some teachers are able to tackle and disarm Randy (with some help from Thea using mild mind control on him) before anyone is seriously hurt, though it understandably causes the dance to end early.
  • The title university in Tales of MU has a weapons policy - that is to say, weapons are mandatory. It is a Wizarding School in a Dungeon Punk setting, and life on campus can get pretty dangerous.
  • This Is Where It Ends: The whole plot of the book is about a boy who brings a gun to school, locks most of the student body in the auditorium, and starts killing them.
  • The climax of We Need to Talk About Kevin involves Kevin (by now firmly established as The Sociopath) pulling a Columbine-style massacre at his school using bow and arrows. The reason why he went through all of the trouble of becoming an expert with this weapon is that he wanted to make it absolutely clear for everybody who discussed the massacre afterwards that there was one reason and one reason only for what he did: because they pissed him off.
  • Wings of Fire: The plot of Moon Rising involves a dragonet setting off a bomb in the history class of Jade Mountain Academy, and the protagonists trying to determine who was responsible.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 4400: In "Suffer the Children", Heather Tobey, a teacher at Van Buren Junior High School who disappeared in 1974, has the ability to unlock the artistic potential in her students. Her attempts to bring out the talents of Greg Venner, a boy with low self-esteem due to his bullying father Frank, are unsuccessful. Greg then takes a gun to school and tries to force Heather to use her ability on him so that he will not become a failure like his father. However, she is once again unable to do so since he does not have any hidden artistic or musical talent. Frank manages to talk Greg out of using the gun.
  • 13 Reasons Why: The Season 1 finale ends on a cliffhanger showing that Tyler has bought illegal guns and has made a hitlist of the students. One season of continuous abuse later, he actually goes through with it - Clay ends up having to dissuade him from opening fire.
  • 7th Heaven:
    • In a benign version of this trope, the episode See You in September has Simon getting suspended from school for one day because his mother packed a knife with his lunch so that he could cut his chicken.
    • Another usage of this trope, more along the lines of Very Special Episode, was when Simon discovered that one of his classmates planned on bringing a gun to school. The friend later claimed that he was kidding, but Simon nonetheless wrote a paper on the event, which he recited to the class, while at the same time said classmate opened his locker in front of a large number of people, including Simon's parents, revealing that he had, indeed, brought a gun into the school.
  • Accused (2023): Scott fears that his son is planning to shoot up his school in "Scott's Story". It turns out he does, along with an accomplice, killing several students and taking others hostage before killing himself.
  • Tate Langdon, one of the ghosts in American Horror Story: Murder House, carried out a pre-Columbine school shooting at his high school before being killed by police.
  • A rare non-student example occurs in the very first episode of Boston Public, when teacher Harry Senate arrives in class openly carrying a handgun, and even fires it off at a wall, all to try and bring his extremely rowdy class in line. To say that everyone is freaked out is an understatement, with the parents and Principal Harper absolutely (and understandably) enraged by his actions, leading to Harry almost losing his job. The incident even gets humorously referenced by the students during their charity show, which features a student dressed as Harry shooting someone in the head.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In "Earshot", when Buffy gained the ability to read thoughts and discovered that someone was planning to kill everyone in the school. Cue Jonathan who is up on the abandoned clocktower putting together a high powered rifle to shoot himself with. Buffy stops him and he goes into therapy (whether he gets better is a matter of opinion, although he stops being suicidal). It turns out the would-be mass murderer is the Evil Lunch Lady who is planning to poison the jelly.
    • Inverted in the first 3 seasons; school (the library, to be exact) was where most of Giles' weapons were kept. And there was even a fire axe in one of the hallways, which Buffy used a couple of times against monsters.
  • Danger 5. Played for Laughs in the episode "Johnny Hitler", where Danger 5 go undercover on a school campus. Jackson is about to shoot the Big Bad when the principal confiscates his pistol and gives him detention.
  • An episode of The Dead Zone revolved around John Smith having a psychic vision of a future shooting, and community spiraling out of control in a self-induced panic. The only gun to actually make it on campus is the one held by the security guard, with tragic results.
  • A two-part episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation has Rick, pushed past the brink, bringing a gun to school. The incident ends with Rick dying and Jimmy confined to a wheelchair.
  • Family Matters when Laura brings a gun to school for protection after she is threatened by Toni for testifying against her in a trial. Laura does not use her gun. However, Toni shoots her best friend Josie. Urkel, Laura, and the gang start a gun exchange program and Urkel does a rap about how bad guns are. At the end of the episode, the cast (out of character) comes together and does a Public Service Announcement about ending gun violence.
  • In Fargo, Lester does this as part of his plan to frame his brother. He plants a gun in his nephew Gordo's backpack. When the gun is discovered at school, this causes the police to search the house, finding the evidence Lester planted.
  • FBI: Most Wanted: In "Hairtrigger", Doug Timmons is a survivor of a school shooting who plans to take revenge on those he believes failed by staging a mass shooting at a government building.
  • The Flashpoint episode "Perfect Storm" deals with a teenager bringing a gun to school to take revenge on his tormentors.
  • One episode of the The George Lopez Show had a student bring a gun to Max's school. The incident occurred offscreen, with the episode instead focusing on the psychological effects that the experience had on Max.
  • This makes up the "Guns" half of the "Guns & Gossip" episode of My So-Called Life. Rickie's cousin brings a gun to school and it accidentally goes off. Brian gets a lot of unwanted attention (good and bad) because he's thought to be an eyewitness.
  • An episode of One Tree Hill has a character bring a gun to school. He ends up dead by the end of it, as does Keith Scott at the hands of his brother Dan, which was made to look like the shooter did it.
  • The Outer Limits (1995):
    • In the episode "Abduction", five high school kids are abducted by an alien. They eventually find out that the alien chose them because one of them brought a gun to school and was planning to shoot the other four.
    • Exaggerated in "Final Exam"; the antagonist brought a nuclear bomb to school.
  • Happens on Smallville, where Lana tries to kill Chloe with an axe (and actually doesn't completely escape punishment, since the brawl got both of them suspended — she is under mind control, though). Also the Trope Namer. Of course, while going crazy and attempting to kill classmates is a big thing in most schools, for Smallville High it's... Tuesday. And in fairness, she didn't bring it to school; they crashed into an "in case of fire" box in the struggle and she just started using the fire axe from there.
  • MacGyver (1985): Exaggerated in the episode "Hell Week": a genius university student, despairing at having lost the titular competitionnote  and thus disappointed his academic hard-ass father even more, decides to commit suicide by using all of the gear in the college's well-equipped lab to build a bomb that MacGyver deems impossible to defuse in timenote  and will take out the university's nuclear physics lab as collateral damage if it explodes, so Mac and said father try to roll the bomb to the building's basement so it won't cause Three Mile Island II.
  • One episode of South of Nowhere has Spencer and Ashley skipping school while the others are forced into a day-long lockdown when a girl brings in a gun.
  • S.W.A.T. (2017): In "School" Hondo and the team are forced to revisit the past school shooting that they answered six years ago as they hunt down the copycat who is trying to re-enact another shooting with a higher body count.
  • Waterloo Road: The series 4 opener, in particular, saw the arrival of The Kelly Family (aka the family from hell) getting enrolled at Waterloo Road. However Earl Kelly has a gun in his hand. However, his younger son Denzil Kelly has the gun which eventually turned into a serious situation after a note was found at the door by Melissa Ryan that a gun is in the school.
  • The trailer for Wednesday reveals that Wednesday Addams got expelled from her last school by doing this with an extremely unusual weapon: a swarm of piranha that she dumped into the pool during the swim team's practice as revenge for them bullying her brother Pugsley. At least one member of the swim team, Dalton, wound up emasculated by them.
  • The Wire has a dramatic moment in Mr. Pryzbylewski's middle school classroom when a disturbed girl, fed up with teasing, abruptly stands up, whips out a box cutter, and cuts two deep slashes into another girl's face. What really bothers Mr. Pryzbylewski is that after the heat of the moment, none of his other inner-city students seems to be at all traumatized. In fact, it's routine for them to bring weapons to school, although they generally conceal them somewhere outside rather than smuggle them into the building.

  • Technically didn't bring a gun to school, but initiated a sniper attack on a school from her house across the street: Brenda Ann Spencer, whose shooting spree inspired the Boomtown Rats' piano-based ballad "I Don't Like Mondays". The song title was her actual reason given.
  • Played for Laughs in "The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun!" by Julie Brown.
  • "Sick of It All" by The Distillers:
    I went to school today with an Uzi
    There's this kid, he teased me
    So I shot him in the face
  • Generally thought to be the subject of Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks," another massive case of Lyrical Dissonance. The only unclear thing is if the narrator is actually shooting others or if it is all in his head. The perspective change from third-person to first-person also adds to the ambiguity.
  • Megadeth's "Have Cool, Will Travel" is both about school shootings and the inevitable ensuing media blowout:
    Mamas pack their lunches, kiddies pack their guns
    Wishing it will go away, but nothing's getting done
    A shot heard 'round the world, when a mother's baby dies
    We the people point our fingers, blame and wonder why
  • "I.G.W.T." by Derek Minor feat. Thi'sl
    High schools got armed guards
    'Cause teenagers bear arms
    And they'd crack your head
    Put that video on Worldstar
    That boy you callin' a nerd?
    Got a bomb off in his backpack
  • "Teenagers" by My Chemical Romance
    The boys and girls in the clique
    The awful names that they stick
    You're never gonna fit in much, kid
    But if you're troubled and hurt
    What you've got under your shirt
    Will make them pay for the things that they did!
  • "The Kinslayer" by Nightwish is directly about the Columbine shooting. It features dialogs from the actual events.
    Facing this unbearable fear like meeting an old friend
    Time to die, poor mates, You made me what I am!
  • Kelly Rowland's "Stole" is about the lead up to and aftermath of such a shooting:
    He's not invisible anymore
    With his father's 9 and a broken fuse
    Since he walked through that classroom door
    He's all over primetime news
  • The Tomato Surprise in The Offspring's "Hammerhead" shows the song is about one of those.
  • Pearl Jam song "Jeremy" is about this. Lead singer Eddie Vedder has said in interviews that this song was about two separate, real-life incidents, one from his Middle School (who went on a shooting spree in a classroom) and another from a newspaper article (about a boy named Jeremy who shot himself in front of his class). The music video for the song clarifies this further.
  • In Wheatus' "Teenage Dirtbag":
    Her boyfriend's a dick
    He brings a gun to school

    Music Videos 
  • In the video for Aerosmith's "Livin' On the Edge", a high school kid gets into a fight with another guy in the cafeteria and reaches into his backpack and it looks like he is going to take out a handgun he brought, but instead he takes out a sandwich.

  • Accidentally occurs in the second episode of Interstitial: Actual Play when the party realizes that they've brought all of their weapons (including Edith's tranquilizer gun, which looks exactly like a real gun) to East High.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Jeff Foxworthy talks about this briefly in his "Seek and Destroy" routine (in which he describes how things have changed since his day, when they used to take frogs to school... and a drive-by shooting meant somebody had their rear end hanging out a car window), when he mentions being shocked by a news program about how kids are bringing guns to school.

  • In Cesare - Il Creatore che ha distrutto, Cesare, Miguel, and Draghignazzo all carry daggers in class. Well, it is the fifteenth century.
  • In Punk Rock, there is the terrifying penultimate scene, when William shoots three of his classmates. This is alluded to in the scene before the attack, with the line "don't come into school" being uttered.

    Video Games 
  • Do It For Me: The story turns out to be about a school massacre. The Villain Protagonist has been using his knife to kill innocent school-goers at the behest of his Ax-Crazy girlfriend.
  • Max from Life Is Strange discovers her Time Travel powers after classmate Nathan Prescott pulls a gun on a girl in a school bathroom. Since her only evidence is hearsay, the teachers don't take her claims seriously until a student he bullied tries to kill herself. The fact that the Prescotts are incredibly wealthy and Nathan's in cahoots with one of the teachers helps too, of course.
  • In the Mana Khemia series, everybody brings weapons to school, as the monster-infested dungeons are part of the school grounds. Using alchemy to create new weapons is a basic homework assignment as far as they're concerned.
  • Morimiya Middle School Shooting is about, as the title bluntly states, a shooting at Morimiya Middle School. And you're the school shooter.
  • Persona:
    • Persona:
      • Masao "Mark" Inaba actually brought an axe at school. It's not clear why Mark has an axe with him, but it's implied that he breaks into boarded-up buildings for his graffiti art.
      • Former delinquent Yukino Mayuzumi is carrying around razors as an improvised weapon.
      • Tamaki Uchida brought her old rapier at school which she gives to the protagonist. It's not clear why she brought an actual weapon either, but her previous adventure probably made her paranoid.
    • Persona 2: The party does go to school with weapons in hand, but's that's not actually a habit for them; they are looking for members of the Masked Circle who happen to be at school.
    • Persona 4: The characters are hiding weapons under their clothes during school so they can head straight to the TV World afterwards without having to go home and pick them up.
    • Subverted in Persona 5. The characters are carrying hyper realistic model weapons with them to use in the Metaverse, because the Shadows there think they're actual guns, and since that world runs on Clap Your Hands If You Believe, they can actually fire.
  • The protagonist of Yandere Simulator can use a variety of weapons at school to kill and injure her fellow classmates, in particular her romantic rivals. However, most of these weapons are already at school as tools for certain club members to use (a knife in the cooking club, axes and saws in the gardening club, etc.). If students see her carrying a weapon (except for a few like scissors), they will be suspicious and her reputation will decrease unless she is a member of the club the weapon is associated with.

    Visual Novels 
  • Class of '09: We never get to see the weapon in question, but Jeffrey brings a gun to school and shoots it up in one of its endings and in the animated short.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry:
    • In the Tsumigoroshi/Atonement arc, Ryuugu Rena brings a large billhook to school and rigs up an improvised explosive device for the purpose of holding the entire student body hostage. She did this to force the cooperation of the police because they weren't taking her seriously when she tried telling them about an alien conspiracy to massacre the entire town. Seeing as up to that point the school had always been a safe haven from the gruesome events of the series, this is particularly shocking.
    • Throughout the series, Mion carries her gun to school and it isn't questioned at all. Turns out it's just an airsoft pistol. Would you question her anyway?
    • Subverted during the first arc, where Keiichi looks for a weapon he can carry around school without raising questions. He settles on a baseball bat.
  • In Katawa Shoujo, Shizune's father Jigoro carries his katana everywhere he goes - which includes his daughter's school. Downplayed, in that nobody seems to mind and it might just be a result of not having a separate, katana-less sprite.
  • H-game Heartwork: Symphony of Destruction begins with the main character accidentally taking the bag of a contract killer and finding himself in possession of a handgun. In one of the story paths, he takes the gun to school, and everything goes downhill from there.

    Web Comics 
  • Killroy And Tina has a student try to shoot his teacher. Tina saves the day with a discreet Bullet Catch (the students think it's a misfire) and the kid... goes to jail and becomes an Ax-Crazy Stalker with a Crush. If the series hadn't been Orphaned, it might have even gone somewhere.
  • Marilith: Marilith and Kimiko are contracted to kill a pedophile teacher in Kimiko's old school... and right before they spring to action, three students produce firearms and begin shooting indiscriminately.
  • In Mitadake Saga, the Boy with Sunglasses is carrying an axe as a weapon. Apparently, he was working with the teacher to uncover Kira's identity, and realized just what it meant when the school went under lockdown.
  • Subverted in MSF High: Because nobody can die for real, it's quite common for people to get into fights with bombs in the hallway. Rainer, in fact, first dies when he stops talking with a monologue-length bomb. It's explored more in the forum RP, where the general rule is "Please at least CHALLENGE the guy first!"

    Web Original 
  • Inspired by the Columbine Shootings, this is how Newgrounds' mascot, Pico, got his start. A bunch of Goths started a massacre one day, so Pico grabbed an AK-47, reclaimed his school, and hasn't looked back since. An official Alternate Universe has him talk them out of it before the worst can happen.
  • Player Two Start has two major incidents revolving around gun violence at school:
    • The first is, of course, Columbine. However, with Polly Klaas's survival, she encourages Dylan Klebold to refuse to participate. Eric Harris attempts it alone, and fails miserably: he only manages to kill his ex Caitlyn before shooting himself.
    • The second, more bigger incident, is the Valentine's Day Massacre. After one slight too many, Christine Chandler goes on a mass murder spree, shooting 21 people dead (including Shonda Rhimes) before turning the gun upon themselves. The Valentine's Day Massacre results in huge ramifications within society, leading to Jack Thompson getting his foot in the door against violent video games and prejudice being directed against autistic (and eventually transgender as well) people.

    Western Animation 
  • The Classic Disney Short from The '50s "Teachers Are People", where a kid is asked to empty his pockets, the contents of which include guns, crossbows, even a live grenade.
  • Played for Laughs in an early episode of Duckman when he goes to visit Ajax's high school, which has put up metal detectors to catch students trying to smuggle in weapons. It doesn't work too well since literally every student walking into the building is openly armed to the teeth with everything from rifles to rocket launchers, and the detector doesn't go off until Duckman tries to walk through with a metal lunchbox, which is immediately confiscated and shot to pieces by security. A later episode shows that the urban decay of the school has been mostly cleaned up... thanks to the school now being sponsored by Smith And Wesson.
  • If Anything Happens I Love You: Played for Drama. The cartoon is about a couple with a broken marriage; it is revealed that their daughter was killed in a school shooting.
  • In Johnny Test, the titular character brings nunchucks to school to beat the school bully. They get confiscated by the principal.
  • In King of the Hill, Hank becomes the substitute shop teacher. Because the school is low on money, he encourages students to bring tools from home. Bobby is caught with a saw and suspended.
    Hank: Using a saw as a weapon makes about as much sense as using a pistol to cut a two by four. Which is how my dad made my treehouse. And cleaned it.
  • In the episode of My Life as a Teenage Robot about Jenny going to school for the first time, she opens herself up to show the many different devices inside of her and the principal points out she could get in trouble for bringing weapons to school. Brad convinces him to let it go on the condition that Jenny keeps them all disabled when she's on school grounds. Despite this, plenty of other episodes have her drawing weapons in school without consequence.
  • The Owl House opens up with Luz Noceda having been sent to the principal's office for having brought in live snakes and a large firework rocket to spice up her book report.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Played for Laughs when Principal Skinner says on the morning announcements "I trust you all remembered to bring in your implements of destruction." Every child in the class reaches into their desks and pulls out axes, hammers, baseball bats, and so on; Bart has a BFG and is dressed like Rambo, and Nelson has a flamethrower. Skinner then gives the order to "Trash this dump!" Cut to all the children cheerfully destroying the school. It was All Just a Dream for Bart, a very happy dream.
    • When Bart is sent to a military boarding school, the first thing he's given at a firing range is a grenade launcher.
      Since you've already attended public school, we're assuming you've already had experience with small arms. note 
    • When Bart is made Hall Monitor, Skinner rewards him with an item of his choice from the seized property locker. Apparently, at some point, someone had brought a crossbow into Springfield Elementary.
  • Exaggerated (like many things) in the South Park episode "Dead Kids", which features a total of four school shootings happening over the course of one episode — three of those happening in the same school. And a couple of subsequent episodes open up with them.
  • A Static Shock episode had a kid not only bring a gun to school but accidentally shoot the main character's best friend, Richie, in the leg after he gets tackled by the bullies he wanted to shoot. It's fairly Anvilicious in that Richie then yells about how painful it is and that it's not cool or fun like it seems on TV. Although it's fair to say that getting shot is pretty painful and considerably uncool.

    Real Life 

Alternative Title(s): School Shooting


Life is Strange

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