A school where not only do you learn mathematics, but how to shoot a rifle.
Military schools are institutions which aim to instill military-style discipline in students. Often the explicit goal of such schools is to prepare students for military careers. The military school is intended for minors, as opposed to the Military Academy which trains at the undergraduate university level.
The idea of the military school is rapidly becoming a Dead Horse Trope. Military schools were more common in ages where service was a family tradition, especially among aristocrats, and large standing armies sought new manpower all the time. They were (and are) also very common in dictatorships where the school seeks to instill loyalty to the regime (such as the Hitler Youth or the Young Baath Party). In modern America, this had once varied; in the 1990's and the late 1980's, it was considered justified for "problem" kids and delinquents whose parents were oft too busy to handle raising them in a nuclear family structure with a 9 to 5 job, but thanks to massive publicity of on site abuse, deaths of internees, and extremely harsh and inhumane treatment by both incompetent and criminally aggressive individuals, even its heads, sending youths to military camps are viewed as borderline child abuse and most such institutions have closed.
In fiction, a rebellious teen may be threatened with one, making it a variation on the Boarding School of Horrors theme. It is also a common basis for a Boot Camp Episode or Off to Boarding School. Compare Military Academy, which is for older students who tend to take it more seriously.
Absurdly Powerful Student Council exists here in the form of a command staff.
- A Pacific Bell from the late 1990s' featuring an exasperated dad and his video game playing son, goes something like this:
Dad: Jimmy, are you going to take out the trash?.Jimmy: What for?Dad: Jimmy, grandma's on the phone.Jimmy: She's your mother!Dad: Jimmy, are you going to do the dishes?Jimmy: Talk to the hand! 'Cause Jimmy ain't listenin'.Jimmy gets knocked unconcious by a flying phonebook that lands on the floor and opens up on a specific page.Narrator: "Military school." Another problem solved by Pacific Bell.
- Angel Beats! - While strictly not exactly an military school, due to the size of SSS, one of the biggest organizations within students, all students attending there have a high chance of learning how to use firearms.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha - The Time-Space Administration Bureau Military Academies.
- Mahou Sensei Negima! - The Magic Knight Cadet Classes of Ariadne which Yue Ayase joins when she was trapped with amnesia in Mundus Magicus.
- Naruto - The Ninja Acadamy, where prepubescent kids learn to throw kunai (also part Wizarding School, since they also teach the Doppelgänger Spin, Voluntary Shapeshifting, and Ninja Log).
- In Legend of Galactic Heroes, Reinhard von Lohengramm (then Müsel) and Siegfried Kircheis attended a military preparatory school at the age of 10 and eventually graduating at the top of their class and joining the military when they were 15.
- A place like this was used as a setting in a Spider Man story where he was helping The Punisher uncover a Government Conspiracy involving a huge stash of marijuana. Turned out it was being stored there. ("Makes sense," claimed Frank. "The government has control, nobody would question the presence of munitions or "supplies" and most importantly, who'd ever suspect school children of guarding the world's largest stash?" (Fortunately, they managed to solve the problem without and kids getting hurt, but this was one case where Spidey got so angry at the guy in charge that Frank had to hold him back.)
- Batman and Robin foe "The General" is a violent war obsessed kid who started causing trouble for them when he returned home to Gotham from Military School.
- In Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, the big threat hanging over the plot is that if Ted fails History, his father will ship him off to a military academy in Alaska, which will ruin the utopian future his and Bill's music creates. When the pair are sent to hell in the sequel, they get to see what it might be like:
Col. Oates: Drop and give me...infinity....Bill: Dude, there's no way I can do infinity push-ups.Ted: Maybe he'll let us do 'em girly-style?
- Child's Play 3. In the first movie, the main character's living with his mother who ends up in an aslyum, so in the second he's living with his foster parents who die, so in the third he gets Darrined and sent to military school where people die.
- Renaissance Man uses this is a bit of a backdrop when a new teacher played by Danny Devito has to save the Army students from flunking.
- Taps - a Military School is to be closed down and razed. The outraged students refuse to allow it and end up in a confrontation with the authorities.
- Up the Academy - a comedic take. At the Sheldon R. Wienberg academy, four young teens are sent to school and learn the discipline that the school teaches. Almost immediately, they don't like what is going on. Along the way, they plan their own actions from looking for girls to holding a party without the faculty's knowledge.
- Cadet Kelly: When her new stepfather becomes the Commandant of a military school, George Washington Military Academy, Kelly and her family move upstate. Kelly has to enroll at the school, since it is the only school in the area, leaving behind her art school and her best friend Amanda.
- Damien: Omen II. All the better to help the Antichrist take over the world.
- Evilspeak is set in a military school, where one student is bullied too far and he retaliates with satanic power.
- In Dead Poets Society, this is what Neil, one of the members of the title group of youths, is threatened with by his Fantasy-Forbidding Father when he learns that he is playing Puck in their production of A Midsummer Night's Dream instead of focusing his energies on being the doctor he wants him to be. The prospect of being sent someplace he does not want to go and being given no real choice in life breaks poor Neil, and he is Driven to Suicide.
- The Ref: Lloyd and Caroline's son Jesse is coming home for Christmas from one of these, which he has seemed to take over having blackmailed the head of his school.
- The protagonist of The Man Without A Face actually wants to get into a prestigious military school and has sought out the title character as a tutor for the entrance exam.
- Ender's Game with the Battle School.
- Robert A. Heinlein had one IN SPACE! in Space Cadet.
- Schola Progenium in Warhammer 40,000 takes in Emperor Servants' orphans at a pretty young age, so for several lower levels it's pretty much this trope, and this can be seen in a couple of the tie-in novels that bother to mention Schola at all, like Cain's Last Stand. For older cadets already taking special courses it's more like Military Academy, though. Unlike what one might expect, the Schola is usually not a Boarding School of Horrors. The food tends to be decent, the teachers harsh but not sadistic, and the education's about as good as it gets.
- Brotherhood of the Rose by David Morrell. The protagonists are from an orphanage where the children are raised to be patriotic cannon fodder for the US military.
- The Confusions of Young Törless is supposed to be set at one of these, in 19th century Austria-Hungary.
- A Chekhov's Gun in Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw — a rather annoying Delinquent is sent to one of these after his parents get fed up with him early in the book, as shown by a chapter. It works, as we see him in his summer job as a movie usher, and by the looks of things, he's pretty much the platonic ideal of a good cadet. This is what causes Frank to seriously consider sending his son to it as a way of ridding his status as The Chew Toy. Greg is not amused.
- The Lords of Discipline: A group of senior cadets try to force freshman cadets they disapprove of to leave their Military School, including the first black cadet who was enrolled. (In fact, "Carolina Military Institute" is an obvious stand-in for The Citadel, The Military COLLEGE of South Carolina.)
- Lords of Discipline is about more than just the Citadel. Its a fictional college that is a mash-up of Citadel, VMI, and West Point, though the author did go to the Citadel.
- Planet Pirates: Part of the First Novel takes place at a Military School.
- The idea of sending a child to a military school because of its bad behavior is deconstruced in Give A Boy A Gun by Todd Strasser. Brendan, who had trouble with his classmates, would have willingly attended a military school, but they didn't accept him. See "Real Life" for possible reasons.
- In Freaks and Geeks, Nick's father threatens to send him to military school if he doesn't improve his grades.
- In the first few seasons of Malcolm in the Middle, eldest brother Francis attends one of these.
- An episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch parodied this, combining it with a Cinderella story. "You forgot your... boot?"
- The Sopranos episode "Army of One". Tony Soprano and his wife Carmela disagree vehemently over whether to send their son A.J. to a Military School after he gets expelled from his original Catholic school, Verbum Dei. It turns out that A.J. gets panic attacks like his father—and, it seems, like the whole Soprano line going back generations—and couldn't go to military school for health reasons.
- Dead Like Me. - A military school features as the site of a reap. Inverted in that the soon-to-be-dead cadet loves the school and constantly pushes herself to excel. She dies on the obstacle course, where a safety rope breaks just as she makes it to the top of the tower climb.
- Arthur Carlson from WKRP in Cincinnati had a son going to one of these, 'Prussian Valley'. He learns that his son's flunking out, but lets him hold onto his The B Grade excuse for leaving, and enrolls him in public school.
- Another more positive portrayal is in the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles episode "Goodbye To All That".
- In the summer 2000 show Opposite Sex when Jed is reluctant to go to the formerly-all-girls-school his father signed him up for, he briefly attends a military school in the area but finds the intellectual rigor less than rigorous and returns to the other school.
- On The Facts of Life there is an all-boys military school nearby which serves as the girls' counterpart (and was the setting for the Poorly Disguised Pilot "The Academy").
- JAG: Harm and Mac visit such a school in "Into the Breech".
- NCIS: In S12, Ep14 "Cadence" we learn that DiNozzo attended one his senior year. We get to visit it because the Victim of the Week was also an alumnus. The archetypal unpleasantness of said academies was emphasized by the existence of Honor Corps, a self-appointed and totally unregulated student organization that hazed anybody who failed to meet arbitrary school standards, talked back to people in authority (Even if it was justified), or wouldn't date one of their members.
- On NCIS: Los Angeles, Sam Hanna's son Aiden goes to one of these. It gets taken over by terrorists at the end of Season 7, sending Sam into full Papa Wolf mode.
- Two and a Half Men: In Best H.O. Money Can Buy, Charlie threatens to send Jake to one as a means to get him to actually do things like chores and homework. At the end of the episode, Jake learns that his grades are too poor to even be accepted into military school, defusing the threat.
- Mr. Belvedere - In "The Cadet" episode, Wesley is sent to one after getting in trouble both in school and at home for the umpteenth time.
- In "The Lost Weekend" episode of The Cosby Show, Cliff takes Theo to enroll him either in military school or the Army itself, only to be turned away by a recruiting officer who outright announces to the crowd—Cliff marvels at the fact that no less than 50 people were there with their kids—this was NOT the place to dump off misbehaving children, as cited in "Real Life" section.
- Featured twice in Cold Case in the episode "The Plan", and the two-parter "The Long Blue Line".
- The plot of a Walker, Texas Ranger episode has Walker and Trivette running the "boot camp" variety to reform wayward youth.
- On Good Eats, in the episode "Behind the Eats," Alton explains the disappearance of his "nephew" Elton. The kid who played him grew up and went to college. The college in question? West Point.
- In the first The Sims game, children whose grades stay at F for several days are sent off to military school for the rest of their lives — they disappear from the family forever.
- Valkyria Chronicles - As part of a national universal conscription program, every school in Gallia is effectively one of these.
- But the real military school is Lanseal, the center of the second game. It's a mix between school and academy, in that it also accepts people well beyond their highschool years.
- In The Adventures of Willy Beamish, if you get into too much trouble with your parents, you get a Game Over and are sent off to military school.
- The Gardens in Final Fantasy VIII are military academies. Your final exam is the tutorial mission of the game.
- Tears to Tiara 2 has the run down Kadamia, a village school in disguise. It's run by La Résistance, teaches combat, magic, and leadership skills, and even serves as a place to recruit new members.
- The titular Battle School of Oscar Mike's DLC Story Operation from Battleborn is the training boot camp that all Mike clones must go through upon "birth". Consisting of a series of arena style battles, the Battle School must be completed before Mikes can be deployed into battle proper. In order to rejoin Mike society, Oscar Mike's trial is to go through the Battle School again. Due to General Mike exercising his Clonestitutional right to bureaucratically make things more difficult than necessary, Oscar Mike has to go through the Battle School 10 times.
- A Wham Line at the end of the SuperMarioLogan episode "Bowser Junior's Clown Car!" has developed the entire episode into one of the Pilots of an upcoming SML series where Junior goes to military school for breaking a table while playing with Bowser's old clown car in the aforementioned video. In an unrelated note, "Cody's Revenge!" serves as the second pilot and the follow-up to "Clown Car!" where Junior gets Blackmailed by Cody as revenge for all the things he did to the latter.
Bowser: His ass's going to military school.
- Whateley Universe: There's the optional military training organization of the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) at the Whateley Academy.
Word of God: It's not dedicated US Military, or even a branch. Students can sign up for credit with all of the US service branches and international students can apply their studies back to their home militaries. The JROTC corps on campus is a panoply of uniforms, Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, British, French, Etc. In fact, the only 'uniform' item is the Beret the students wear which, as the fiction of the unit is a 'multinational organization' has dispensation from both the U.N. and NATO to issue sky blue UN collation force colors.
- One episode of The Simpsons has Bart get forced into one of these. Lisa ends up joining as well because she liked the rigid structure and the fact that it was actually teaching stuff.
- Parodied in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, where a Zany Scheme to get Billy into a prestigious school ends with him realizing the school that he just succeeded in getting into was actually Military School. The last shot of the cartoon is of him standing in front of a firing line.
- The Exofleet Academy in Exo Squad. Although it doesn't appear in the series itself, it plays an important role in e.g. Coleen O'Reilly's Back Story (the Neosapien War began on the day of her graduation from the Academy and she was one of the few cadets to have survived the onslaught).
- King of the Hill: Bobby attended Cotton's old military school for one episode, but it was more of a Boy Scout school than a military school. When Cotton found out how pleasant it had become, he took over so he could turn it back into a hellhole.
- Daria: Being shipped off to one by his father was a defining element of Jake Morgendorffer's character.
- The Smile Away Reformatory from "Phineas and Ferb Get Busted" is a cruel and rather unsettling version.
- Four of the Paladins in Voltron: Legendary Defender either are or were Military School students (the fifth being an actual soldier), thus explaining how a bunch of teenagers and one Shell-Shocked Veteran are at all equipped to take on an entire Evil Empire.
- In an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987), a kid was sent to one of these schools after Crying Wolf about Alien Invasions too many times; it looked legit until he found out it was under the control of two bona-fide aliens, Wingnut and Screwloose.
- A few still exist in the U.S. The Valley Forge Military Academy, for instance. Culver Military Academy, Indiana Military High School and last bastion of equestrian cavalry in the United States Army. Also sports the largest riding arena in the nation.
- In some countries, schools which are not generally military in approach may have optional military training organisations as official extra-curricular activities, such as the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) in the USA or the Officer Training Corps (OTC) in British private schools. There are several high schools in the U.S. where the entire student body is enrolled in JROTC, such as the Marine Academy of Science and Technology in New Jersey.
- "Boot camps" for wayward youth are something of a cruel parody of the concept, giving kids with problems (sometimes not even all that severe) a treatment that's actually worse than any qualified military DI would deal out. It's not uncommon for such camps to be shut down when word gets out, only to reopen somewhere else under a different name in a looser jurisdiction.
- It's also generally considered that the use of military school or "boot camps" as a punishment is likely to make things worse, as more often than not a disobedient teen leaves not only with a major resentment towards their parents and adults in general, but often with the skills and knowledge to be a significantly better criminal.
- This trope is not Truth in Television for straightening out any disobedient or out-of-control minors. Military schools are very much like private schools and don't take just anybody. Like a private school or boarding school, part of the selective admissions process is an interview where the prospective student gets questioned on why they want to attend. As a general rule, many military schools will not accept defiant or clearly unwilling applicants.
- In the past, some countries had Cadet Corps for boys of noble families wanting to enter the military. This term is still used today for the pipils of some military academies.