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Evil Principal

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"Thanks for accepting my request for help after I only asked once, Lexi. Normally, it takes at least two requests, and some kind of message, like a finger in a box."
Principal Skidmore, A.N.T. Farm

Much like how Dean Bitterman is the principal equivalent of Sadist Teacher, the Evil Principal is one step up from an Evil Teacher. Whereas the Dean Bitterman is merely a crusty, fun-hating bully, the Evil Principal is an outright villain who sets places on fire, murders students and jaywalks when no one is looking. While they can overlap, the Evil Principal has to actually commit crimes or mastermind an Evil Plan of some kind to qualify.

The Evil Principal also sometimes isn't as obviously antagonistic as the Dean Bitterman and is often well-liked and seemingly nice. But behind the scenes, they get into all kinds of evil, secretly plotting robberies, assassinations, deals with shady organizations or even things like student rape or torture. They are most likely to appear in stories where the protagonists are school-aged children and teens in an Adults Are Useless situation taken up a level where the adult is genuinely malevolent. Whenever there's a School for Scheming or Academy of Evil, expect to see this character in charge.

Contrast Reasonable Authority Figure and Putting the "Pal" in Principal.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The year 2001 Disney Channel Original Movie Hounded had Ward Van Dusen, the headmaster of Columbus Hall, the private middle school his son, Ronny, and Jay Martin attended. Ward had a long history of Nepotism since he was named headmaster, succeeding his father-in-law, Armand Columbus. An example being when Jay's older brother, Mike, was a student at Columbus, Ward cut him from the baseball team to make room for his nephew, who never even played the sport his entire life. When he tries to help Ronny get into a prestigious school by stealing Jay's presentation, stealing the scholarship that should've been his in the first place, his acts of nepotism ultimately get him demoted to secretary and Ronny sent to military school while Armand took back his old job and Jay is rightfully given his scholarship.
  • Elliot Jindraike, the Principal of Curtis Jr. High, from Max Keeble's Big Move, who plotted to embezzle all the money from the school to fund his football stadium named after the school superintendent, where it will be constructed at the animal shelter Max regularly visits.
  • The Substitute: Principal Rolle is first introduced as an outwardly genial ex-cop, now tasked with cleaning up a poor inner-city school plagued with gang and drug problems. In reality, Rolle himself is the mastermind behind most of the drug trafficking going on at the school, using school buses to transport cocaine and storing it in the boiler room. He has no qualms about murder either; he tries to have Slade killed several times and personally murders another teacher who finds out about his scheme. Also turns out that he was a Dirty Cop before becoming a principal, and sees good to have a more direct line for distributing the drugs directly to the kids.

  • Animorphs: Assistant Principal Hedrick Chapman is secretly a Controller with a Yeerk in his brain, helping them take over more people including the students in his school. Upon finding out Chapman is a Controller, Marco jokes this is why he's so strict.
  • The Demon Headmaster, or rather the first book (and the first series of the BBC adaptation) has the premise of a creepy school where all the students are mysteriously well behaved. It quickly turns out the eponymous character can hypnotize anyone who looks at him, causing the main character to join a group of students dedicated to opposing him. The later books avert this, by having him engage in wilder supervillain plots, like mind-controlling the Prime Minister, and cloning people (albeit, not dropping the title).
  • Ghost Girl (2021): Principal Scratch is an evil spirit who did away with the previous principal and uses his position to reach all the residents of the town and feed off their souls.
  • Harry Potter:
  • Matilda: Miss Agatha Trunchbull, headmistress of Crunchem Hall Primary School, is a Child Hater and Dean Bitterman taken to the extreme, sadistically punishing kids with wildly outlandish punishments like forcing them to eat a whole cake in one sitting, chucking them out the window for eating during class, or, her favorite, making them stand in the Chokey. She isn't just abusive to her students, either- it's heavily implied that she was involved in the death of Miss Honey's father.
  • Michael Vey: Mr. Dallstrom is the rude and cruel principal of Meridian High School that the titular Michael and his peers attend. He picks on weak and unpopular students, and in Michael's case makes fun of his Tourette's Syndrome and punishes him with detention when he is bullied, making up reasons like "[Y]ou cannot be stuffed into a locker without your consent" and for not struggling "hard enough" against his bullies. He later stoops even lower when he accepts bribes from the corrupt Elgen Cooperation to send Michael to their "school" in California so they may experiment on him.
  • Sometimes in The Worst Witch, Agatha Cackle, the Evil Twin of the normal headmistress Ada Cackle, takes over as headmistress. She'll usually be giving the students a hard time and/or trying to destroy the school when she does that.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Daybreak (2019), the sadistic, cannibalistic warlord Baron Triumph is revealed to be Principal Burr, who hates children and wants to nuke Glendale to rebuild it in his own image.
  • Doctor Who: In "School Reunion", Headmaster Finch is leading the Alien Conspiracy of the week, turning his students into Wetware CPUs, and occasionally eating a student he thinks nobody will miss.
  • Downplayed in House of Anubis with Eric Sweet. He's the headmaster of the school and The Dragon to Victor Rodenmarr Jr., and thus a member of The Conspiracy to attain immortal life at the expense of the students, but he's actually a good man despite his exterior and mostly just gets bossed around by Victor. He ultimately does a Heel–Face Turn in Season 2, fully subverting this. However, come Season 3, this is double subverted when he comes back to help Victor and Miss Denby complete their ceremony and is turned into a "Sinner".
  • In El internado: Las Cumbres Mara the headmistress fills this role. She punishes two students for fighting by having them locked up in the "iceboxes" (chilly isolation cells furnished with a bench and a bucket) overnight. She is upset that a group of students stole money from her and tried to run away, but shows little alarm about the disappearance of one of those students.
  • In My Babysitter's a Vampire, the Cloaked Man, the Big Bad of Season 2 who wants to commit genocide on vampires, is revealed to be Vice Principal Stern.
  • Power Rangers: Dino Thunder: Elsa's human disguise is Principal Randall of Reefside High, the school the Rangers attend. Even in her human guise, Elsa is cruel, vindictive, and openly contemptuous of teenagers.

    Video Games 
  • Ann: The principal is willing to trade sexual favors for good grades, victory in school contests, and other such things while being uncaring of the students who don't do as well despite turning in better work. He also murders Hana to keep her from leaking his dirty secret.
  • Both Corpse Party continuities have the principal of the school be a corrupt and loathsome figure.
    • In the backstory of Corpse Party (PC-98), the principal helped cover up the death of Sachiko Shinozaki, which was caused when she attempted to escape her teacher's rape attempt because he valued the school's reputation over delivering justice to the teacher. The evil half of Sachiko is shown torturing the principal's soul over this, and yet he still insists he has done nothing wrong.
    • In the Heavenly Host saga, the principal of the titular school, Takamine Yanagihori, is here the attempted rapist who targeted school nurse Yoshie Shinozaki, accidentally killed her, then strangled Sachiko for witnessing it, condemning his soul to be tormented for eternity.
  • Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass: In Megatropolis's Shinryu Academy, the Pulsating Mass takes the form of Principal Pulsating Mass. Running the academy, it acts as an abusive principal to Jimmy and his friends, and once they get close to finding the Secret Knowledge, it outright tries to kill them all.
  • Kindergarten:
    • The Principal of the first game serves as the Big Bad, having taken away Billy for his experiments and giving drugs to anybody who tries to look into it. He also has no qualms shooting the kids.
    • At first glance, the Principal in Kindergarten 2 appears a lot nicer than the principal from the first game, but the way her daughter acts makes it clear that something is off. This is ultimately because she made her daughter into a cyborg forced to obey her, and she has three students down below for experiments with plans to take over every school in the world. She will also kill her daughter if she starts to disobey her.
  • Last Week: The School Principal of Vitheesart is revealed to be the Big Bad of the duology who was sacrificing his best-performing female students in exchange for the school rising in prosperity and reputation.
  • Principal Kobayakawa from Persona 5 displays apathy to students' troubles under a mask of politeness, as he turns a blind eye to Kamoshida's sexual abuses because the teacher's athletic achievements are giving the school some good reputation. He's also a low-ranking member of The Conspiracy, and when the order came to investigate the Phantom Thieves, he requests his honor student Makoto to do it for him, pressing and then blackmailing her to uncover a group known for its secrecy, even as she gets in trouble with the Yakuza. It's worth noting when he's offed by his superiors for incompetence, none of the students show any pity.
  • Senran Kagura: Dogen, a recurring Big Bad in the series, is effectively this if not officially. In the games, he's merely an investor of Hebijo Clandestine Girls' Academy who's power is nevertheless such that the actual principal is basically a figurehead who he could easily fire if he wanted to, while the anime and manga adaptations make him the official Headmaster. Either way, he uses Hebijo to carry out his criminal operations and try to Take Over the World, manipulates troubled girls into joining, instills a Training from Hell regimen to beat the kindness out of his students and turn them into his minions, and displays a willingness to kill them if they defy his orders or if he no longer needs them.
  • Seven Mysteries: In the original version, the Headmaster flat-out organizes the murder of his students if they get too close to the dark secrets of the school, and blackmails Sang and Thuy into being his muscle. In the remake, he's more of a pawn of the Demon who doesn't want to help out but is forced to.
  • Downplayed in Turtle Head with Principal Kurtis Dale in that he isn't actively malicious, but he does use his authority as principal to cover up his Serial Killer son's connection to his murders just to preserve his own reputation, which he values more than the safety of his students. He goes out of his way to obstruct anyone from investigating the incidents, most notably janitor Tian Henderson, by doing things like preventing anyone from entering the old school building where his son is holding Kay Brown and the corpses of his victims. He even kills his son in the original game solely because his son's murders were drawing too much bad attention to him. In the end of both the original game and Emma's Story, he is ultimately arrested as an accomplice to his son's crimes.
  • Weird and Unfortunate Things Are Happening: Principal Inez Ulrich is the human Arc Villain of the Atkinson Middle School chapter who has made a deal with an Inner Evocation, Moror the Voracious, for the power to become a queen. With Moror's power, Inez turns the school into her fairy court and has her minions abduct children to be sacrificed to Moror via turning them into plants.

    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa: Series Big Bad Monokuma calls himself the headmaster of Hope's Peak Academy (and in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, of Ultimate Academy for Gifted Juveniles), and since there are no adults present, he effectively is one. Maintaining a friendly and comedic demeanor, he blackmails students into killing each other and isn't above getting his hands dirty when threatened. For the majority of the game, one of the ongoing mysteries is if the Killer Game Master and the school's real headmaster are the same person. They are not, though Jin Kirigiri has been working under people who forcibly nurture talents in students, and had to let Junko get away with murders in her younger days, both ending with the situation in the present.
  • Princess Evangile: Misako Kitamikado, the Headmistress of Vincennes Private Girls Academy is the Big Bad of all routes both main and fandisc, wanting to preserve the school's status quo as a One-Gender School through any and all means possible, including blackmail, hiring thugs to trash a Culture Festival, and kidnapping, depending on the route. In the main story routes at least, she eventually has a Heel Realization and eventual Heel–Face Turn, but in the Fandisc routes, she gets what she wants and remains as evil as she was at the story's start.
  • Spirit Hunter: Death Mark: The principal of H Elementary is revealed to have been the adoptive father of Hanahiko, the Arc Villain of Chapter 1, who abused and molested him in an attempt to "cure" his crossdressing and feminine tendencies, and eventually killed him. His abuse is what warped him into a Vengeful Ghost.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing Spiez!: The episode "Operation: Rival Schools"'s villain is Principal Farley, the principal of the spies' rival school Oak Knolls Junior High who stole an experimental ability-enhancing light wave technology from a secret military lab so his students could finally win the annual Olympiad instead of always coming in last place. When Principal Shields has Oak Knolls disqualified from the competition and banned from future ones because of the student's extra aggressive behavior (a side-effect of the experimental tech), Farley kidnaps her and tries to make off with her and all of the competition's awards.
  • The Emperor's New School: The villainous Yzma has become the principal of Kuzco Academy under the pseudonym of Principal Amzy. She has her sights on becoming empress and so will do whatever it takes to sabotage Kuzco's attempts of passing his classes so that he will fail and be disqualified from continuing as emperor.
  • The Freaky Stories segment "The Iron Fist Principal" had a girl transfer to a new school where everyone lived in constant fear of the unseen and apparently extraordinarily cruel disciplinarian principal who ultimately turned out to be nothing but a story that the school's faculty made up to keep the students in line, with the teachers even going as far as using a creepy mannequin to cast Sinister Silhouettes in the Principal's Office.
  • Jacob Two-Two:
    • Principal I. M. Greedyguts, the Fat Bastard principal of Dreary Meadows Elementary School and a recurring antagonist whose schemes usually involve making the school even more of a living hell for his own self-benefit.
    • He claims that his twin brother, Y. B. Greedyguts, the principal of Cheery Meadows Elementary School is even worse than he is despite seemingly being the complete opposite of I. M. in personality. He's right; the niceness is all an act Y. B. puts on to trick students and teachers into coming to his school that's actually a power plant where they are forced to run endlessly on hamster wheels to generate electricity for him to sell, and they don't even get coffee breaks.