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New Kid Stigma

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Petey: Hey, how you doing? You must be the new kid. I'm Pete, Pete Kowalski.
Jimmy: Jimmy Hopkins, and don't ask how I'm doing. I've been here five minutes and already people want me dead. Even my parents didn't hate me this quickly!
Petey: Well... welcome to Bullworth. It's a dump.

Being the new kid in a new school is tough. You've had to leave your old life behind, including all of your old friends, and move to a new place you don't know a thing about. Now you're surrounded by a new bunch of kids that have never seen you before, have no prior history with you, and likely view you as an outsider. You're not of their world, and chances are good they will instantly reject you for it.

As a result, the new kid is instantly made The Chew Toy of their new school. Nobody wants to be around them, let alone be friends with them. The only attention they get is from bullies, for whom these kids are easy targets. Sure, the teachers will try to make them feel welcome, and help them through this difficult time in their life, but that can only go so far in helping them adjust to their circumstances.

If this kid manages to make actual friends in their new place, chances are it'll be with other social outcasts at their school. This can at least make their predicament more bearable. This could also help the kid make their adjustment period go more smoothly. After all, nothing keeps spirits high like knowing they have True Companions who will stick with them through the worst school has to offer.

Compare Bully Magnet. The difference being that, in this case, the kid isn't always bullied, just shunned and treated rather coldly. The new kid may start out as a Naïve Newcomer excited to meet new people and make new friends, which can make them walk right into a trap set up by their future bully. Compare also Hated by All. However, in the case of this character, it's not so much what they do that makes everyone alienate and bully them, but who they aren't... one of them. And compare Dislikes the New Guy, only it's not just one person who dislikes them, but the whole school (or at least the vast majority of it).


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Whole Episode Flashback of Boy's Abyss reveals that Kosaku Esomori, back when he went by his birth name Akira, was miserable in middle school because the students didn't take kindly to outsiders. He was often mocked for his lack of an accent and frequently told to go back to whatever city he came from. While some students did become friendly with him, his situation didn't get any better.


    Film — Animated 
  • Totally Spies! The Movie: When the trio first come to Bev High, they meet Mandy, who shows them to the vending machine. They press a button for a drink and are sprayed across the schoolyard. Mandy then proclaims "Welcome to Bev High, losers!", and everyone around laughs at them.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Hairspray (2007): The singers in "The New Girl in Town" mention wanting to "get [the new girl] after school" at one point in the song, out of jealousy.
  • Mean Girls: Cady struggles on her first day in an American high school since she doesn't know a lot of proper high school etiquette and the students other than outcasts Janis and Ian shun her. She is forced to eat lunch in the bathroom alone when no one lets her sit with them. Later subverted when the Plastics take an interest in her because of her natural beauty.
  • In the Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life movie adaptation, Rafe is the victim of a bully at his new school very early on, and he only has two friends (one of them being... not alive). The main antagonist, their principal, is especially cruel to Rafe because he doesn't want the other students to get any bright ideas from him.
  • The Sandlot: Scotty has a hard time making friends at first because his family moved to the neighborhood at the end of the school year. When he tries to make friends with the sandlot kids, they all treat him as too much of a square to play baseball with them, except for Benny.
  • St. Vincent (2014): When Oliver starts attending his new Catholic School, he quickly finds himself being targeted by a bully named Robert Ocinski, who steals his wallet, phone, and house keys. None of the other students approach Oliver or try to befriend him either. He doesn't turn his situation around until he breaks Ocinski's nose, which seems to earn him the latter's respect... and friendship.

  • In Autumn Falls, new girl Autumn makes a good impression on a few of her peers. However, the jealous Alpha Bitch is quick to knock her down a few notches. She creates a website to impersonate Autumn, badmouthing other kids to make the school ostracize her. Things calm down eventually, but it wasn't pretty.
  • How I Survived Middle School: In the first book, Jenny McAfee assumes on the first day of middle school that she and her best friend Addie can continue their friendship from where they left off after Jenny left for summer camp. But Addie has ditched her for the superficial popular crowd. Before Jenny can be comfortable with her new set of friends, the older kids play a prank on her, and out of embarrassment, she eats lunch in the phone booth.
  • Miles Taylor and the Golden Cape: This is Miles' situation at the start of the series. He and his dad moved to Atlanta, and Miles hasn't made any friends in that time. This has made him a target for Jerk Jock Craig "The Jammer" Logg, who enjoys tormenting him every chance he gets. He doesn't make any friends until he meets Henry.
  • 13 Reasons Why is a tragic example. Since no one at school knew Hannah at the time, it was easy for her peers to believe the rumors that were spread about her. The bullying, along with other forms of harassment, resulted in her eventual suicide.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Cobra Kai: This was Kenny's situation in his debut episode. He recently came to the neighbourhood and was dancing his way to the bus stop. However, he ended up making himself a target for Anthony and his friends. Their tormenting him was what drove him to Cobra Kai and becoming just as bad as them through their training.
  • House of Anubis: Every new American student at the House briefly has to deal with being ostracized due to how they shake up the dynamic and arrive just as someone else leaves:
    • Nina came in unexpectedly on the same day Joy vanished, immediately putting her on Patricia's bad side. Aside from Fabian, everyone else is rather cold to her, and only Fabian attempts to stand up for her when she's being mistreated. She goes to school early the next morning, which Fabian argues is an effort to get away from all of them because none of them were very welcoming. It takes her besting a fake Initiation Ceremony to get on most people's good side, which only leaves Patricia hating her for several more episodes.
    • Eddie arrived a day after Mick left, but before moving into Anubis House, he'd already had an argument with Patricia at school. He got off on the wrong foot with most everyone else when he introduced himself at breakfast, annoying the other boys due to flirting with all the girls, and immediately causing trouble by talking back to Victor, tormenting Jerome during "Donkey Day", and keeping Fabian up with loud music. It doesn't take very long for him to become accepted, though.
    • KT comes in after Nina has disappeared, which meant she was entering when the house was in a tense state. This mirrors how Nina herself was treated when she first arrived, except that instead of Patricia bullying her and everyone else being distant, Fabian is the one who takes the lead on distrusting her due to some concerning factors, and ropes Patricia in as part of his desperation to find out where Nina went. Meanwhile, while many are friendly to her, the only one who really hangs out with her is Eddie... which makes Fabian and Patricia even more distrustful. It takes a while for her to be fully accepted by the rest of Anubis House, as even after joining Sibuna, Fabian and Patricia still don't trust her until they're forced to.
  • Resident Evil (2022): Jade and Billie are both ostracized at their new school, with Billie facing online harassment after becoming the victim of a bully. This treatment only stops after Albert uses his influence to threaten the bully’s father.

    Video Games 
  • Bully: Right after being dropped into the Bullworth Academy, Jimmy immediately gets bullied for being a new kid in school.
  • Crash: Mind Over Mutant: In a cutscene showcasing a Mad Scientist school, the students started picking on the new kid who happens to be Nina Cortex. The narrator of the cutscene states that "Classes are full and we hate new people".
  • Persona
    • Persona 3: A downplayed example. While not outright ostracized, the protagonist is viewed with a certain amount of envy and jealousy due to having just arrived and yet getting to stay in the same dorm as some of the most popular students in school (in truth, this to make their Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World activities easier). In addition, his aloof, detached air also makes him difficult to approach, something brought up by some of the Social Link characters. In fact, it's even brought up that bad rumours follow him around because he doesn't socialise and has been seen wandering around seedier parts of town.
    • Persona 5: When the protagonist first arrives at his new school, he's treated coldly by both staff and students. In this case, it's because he's been transferred there after getting into trouble and being expelled from his old school, and so people are, at best, wary of him. It doesn't help that the school's rat bastard of a gym teacher strong-armed another student into leaking Joker's criminal record, solely because he believes a "delinquent" has no business being at an "elite" school. This also prompted the gossip-sharing students to spread increasingly exaggerated rumors about him, like how he allegedly does drugs, carries a knife on him, killed someone, or traffics elephant tusks.
  • In the old PC game Rockett's New School this is one of Rockett's fears. Since she's moving in the middle of the school year she fears that all of the cliques have been solidified and there will be no place for her.
  • In Surviving Highschool, multiple stories cover the lives of protagonists starting over at a new school. When Zoe started out, she had to handle a mean girl who didn't want her on the cheer squad. Time lapsed, Owen is the new guy who has a crush on her, and this automatically makes him an enemy of Nate, Zoe's jealous ex-boyfriend. It's even worse because he wants to join the football team, and Nate is the quarterback.

     Web Animation 
  • Pokémon: Path to the Peak: Ava is new to her school, and thanks to her mishaps while trying to join the other clubs, the other kids don't want her sitting with them at lunchtime.

    Western Animation 
  • Fillmore!: In "Ingrid Third, Public Enemy #1", when Ingrid Third transfers to X Middle School, everyone looks at her like she's something they've never seen before. Principal Folsom attempts to Defy this trope by having the school razz her onstage on her first day (as in, throw balls at her to get their hate for her out of their system). This just makes her REALLY dislike being there. Parnassus actually used this trope to frame Ingrid for detonating a Stink Bomb in the school in hopes of getting her expelled so she won't threaten his position as the smartest kid in school. This also comes up briefly in "Red Robins Don't Fly", where a cheerleader tells Ingrid that she's still too new to be allowed to attend her party.
  • The Ghost and Molly McGee: Double Subverted in "First Day Frights". Molly, despite Scratch's efforts, is very likeable by her new peers before Andrea gave her voice. Unfortunately, Molly accidentally hit Andrea's Berserk Button by mispronouncing her name and, despite Andrea's willingness to forget it the first time, Molly does it again because she was worried and Andrea makes Molly a pariah. Only Scratch taking pity on her and possessing Andrea dissolves this conflict.
  • Mona the Vampire: In the episode "Bird Boy", a new student named Robin comes to Mona's school. He's made fun of by George and Angela for his very bird-like appearance, and no one stands up for him. When flocks of birds start attacking people who've been mean to Robin, Mona starts seeing Robin as turning into a large bird creature and sending them after people.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): In the episode "Town And Out", the Powerpuff Girls take the bus to their new school in Cityville. A girl on the bus ahead of them notes that they're the new kids, and notes she likes their outfits... and reveals she lied when Blossom asks "Really?". They're laughed at as they make their way to their desks, and everyone shoots spitballs at them.
  • Recess:
  • The Simpsons: In "Bye Bye Nerdie", when Otto picks up a new girl from her stop, everyone watches her walk past them, making comments that make it apparent they don't like her.
    Sherri: Red Hair?
    Terri: What's she trying to pull?
    Janey: Those shoes look Canadian.
    Braces Boy: She'll never fit in.
  • South Park:
    • The episode "Hooked on Monkey Fonics" has a homeschooled boy named Mark Cotswolds attending South Park Elementary out of curiosity, only to end up earning the irk of every other boy in the 3rd grade when he outshines everyone in the class. However, he manages to win their respect in the end after beating up Kyle in a rage when the latter allegedly turns Mark's sister Rebecca into a "whore".
    • The episode "All About Mormons" has another new kid named Gary Harrison Jr., a multitalented boy who is made fun of by the other kids behind his back for his cheerful personality and Mormon lifestyle. However, when he eventually gives Stan a brutal "The Reason You Suck" Speech after getting fed up with how much the latter belittles Mormon beliefs, Cartman (who teases him the most throughout the episode) considers Gary to be cool for doing it.
    • This trope is lampshaded in "The Snuke" when Mrs. Garrison urges the students to be nice to the new Muslim student Baahir; subverted when Butters quickly befriends him while the other kids stay neutral but consider him an okay kid, while Cartman is the only one who dislikes Baahir because he thinks his family are terrorists.