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Non-Giving-Up School Guy

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"According to my calculations, Mr. Spicoli, you wasted a total of eight hours of my time this year. And rest assured that is a kind estimate. Now, Mr. Spicoli, comes a rare moment for me. Now I have the unique pleasure of squaring our account. Tonight, you and I are going to talk in great detail about the Davis Agreement, all the associated treaties, and the American Revolution in particular. Now if you can just turn to Chapter 47 of Lord of Truth And Liberty."
Mr. Hand, Fast Times at Ridgemont High (on prom night)

A subtrope of Determinator, this is an educator (often a principal, though sometimes just a teacher; rarely, they're a professional truant officer) who, by all gods, swears that you WILL get an education, by all means necessary. This teacher will thus spend time hunting down students who try to skip school, to drag them back to class. If played with restraint, this means the principal spends his days patrolling the corridors of the school (rather than knee-deep in paper work and meetings as they would be in real life), maintaining a vigil for children roaming the halls without a hall pass, or worst, those that are late for class. The more serious examples of this trope will go on a quest when they learn that a student is not in class, tracking them across the city or even the country. They will brave the elements and the law, resorting to breaking and entering if they have to, all to make sure you go back to school. Often a Designated Antagonist (how dare they want to teach our kids!), which is usually justified by making the character a Jerkass into the bargain. May also be a Sadist Teacher who takes pleasure in the hunt and punishing his absconding students, although he's also likely to be just a Stern Teacher.

If the character in question is a principal, he may also be Dean Bitterman if he is doing out of a sense of authority or obsession with order - though not always, as sometime they may be doing it out genuine concern for their charges. Depending on how determined Non-Giving-Up School Guy is, he may prove to be a Badass Teacher with his determination to track his charge down.

More Fridge Logic occurs when one considers how apparently negative consequences for non-attendance only occur if Non-Giving-Up School Guy finds The Protagonist. Not actually showing up to class multiple times really results in F's, phone calls, letters to parents, etc. (Usually Handwaved by them being tricky enough to forge excuses — with differing degrees of success — and set alibis, but in Real Life this can only go so far.) Or, for that matter, how "negative consequences for non-attendance" apparently don't apply to teachers and principals who abruptly abandon their duties to the school at large in favor of hunting down a single truant child. In Real Life, school authorities probably wouldn't take kindly to that.

This character may have/be the following: Heroic Spirit, Determinator and Implacable Man.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Parodied in Ranma ½ - The Principal is The Determinator... when it comes to enforcing haircuts.
  • Ultimate Teacher provides the perfect way to create a teacher that will never give up: cockroach DNA.
  • The Principal in Yandere Kanojo. He hates delinquents with a fervor, and will do anything to clean them from the school. Surprisingly, he's also a Reasonable Authority Figure.
  • Danganronpa 3's Despair Arc gives us Ninja Maid and Cool Teacher Chisa Yukizome, who spends the whole first episode wrangling up the stragglers of the 77th Class in order to teach them how to enjoy their youth. She accomplishes this by using other students as bait, physically dragging and restraining them, and by analyzing their profiles to figure out where they would most likely be.
  • Nurse Hitomi's Monster Infirmary: Moji-sensei is a positive portrayal with regard to Tobita. He can't keep up with her when she's flying, but that won't stop him from trying his hardest to get her to attend class and stop smoking.

    Comic Books 
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: A comic version of a cartoon where Donald Duck was a truant officer. His nephews tricked him into thinking there was class that day. Carl Barks didn't like the idea of a comic story where kids defy the law and get away with that, so he had Donald use the school keys to open it and his authority as the nephews' uncle to force them in and write at the blackboard "Crime doesn't pay". He even corrected one of the nephews on how to write "crime".
  • An out of continuity gag in the French comic Les Profs (The Teachers) imagine the teachers as wild west outlaws, taking control of small towns to force people to go to school.

    Comic Strips 
  • Bloom County: During a hitherto pleasant Near-Death Experience filled with swimsuit models, Opus suddenly encounters high school principal Joe Clark (as in Lean on Me), who tells him to get back to class and hits him with a baseball bat.
    "You're a leech on afterlife society! You're expelled!!"
  • Pogo: In one strip, Pogo is taking the Pup-Dog and the Rackedy-Coon Child fishing, and Deacon Mushrat shows up to tell them they ought to be in school. In his own words, "I'm everything from truant officer to principal."

    Fan Works 
  • RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse: Scootaloo claims Cheerilee is one, and that when she once tried playing hooky, the mare pursued her "halfway to Cloudsdale" before catching her.
  • Rise of the Minisukas: When Asuka introduces herself to her new classmates, several of them freak out and sprint out of the classroom, screaming. Promptly, three Minisukas hand class representative Hikari Horaki a net gun, and she stomps off menacingly to round up the runaways, dragging them back within the hour.
  • Arcadia: Glynda Goodwitch is part this trope and part Hot for Student when it comes to Jaune Arc.

    Film - Animated 
  • Recess: School's Out: Dr. Phillium Benedict wants the grade point averages of American schools to increase (which, even if he's doing it for the prestige, sounds like a good idea). The problem is that he believes there is a perfect correlation between time children spend studying and grade points increasing, and he tried to force children to continue studying without any kind of rest in order for this to happen by cancelling recess outright (first only on Third Street Elementary and then country-wide as Secretary of Education — both of these attempts ended with him getting 0% Approval Rating and being fired), and then believing that because countries like Canada and Norway have higher averages because they have longer winter periods, he decided that the needed to cause a new Ice Age to cancel summer vacation outright and thus increase school time and thus he would end up being handed over the presidency of the United States for his "revolutionary" improving of grades — he's told that even if people don't arrest him and somehow this doesn't causes the end of mankind, vacations would still happen. He ends up deciding to do his plan anyway, saying that "I can try".

    Film - Live-Action 
  • Principal Dick Vernon in The Breakfast Club. Granted, Bender is a real pain in his backside both in the movie and in their backstories, but Vernon starts giving out detentions every time anyone talks back, locks Bender in his office, and treats all of the students in detention, not just Bender, with disdain. A conversation with the Almighty Janitor later further enforces the idea that Vernon is obsessed with order because he doesn't want to admit that he's bad at his job.
  • The Dean of Students in Ferris Bueller's Day Off spends half the movie hunting down Ferris. To enforce his Designated Antagonist status, this tendency seems to be limited only to Ferris (it's implied that no one even realized Cameron was missing, and when Jeannie ditches school later on, it only gets a brief acknowledgement from the secretary), and that he's motivated more out of a personal vendetta against Ferris than any desire to give an education — he merely wants to prove Ferris is skipping school (as opposed to being genuinely sick) so that he can keep Ferris from graduating. He also takes it upon himself to break into the Buellers' house.
  • Mr. Hand in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. On the night of the graduation dance he comes to Spicoli's house.
  • Mr. Strickland in Back to the Future. It is shown that in the 30 years he's been working at the school, he spent most of it patrolling the corridors, watching for late students whom he calls "slackers".
  • Zhang Yimou's film Not One Less. Wei Minzhi is told not to lose any students. When one of the boys takes off in search of work in the big city, she goes looking for him.
  • Goodbye, Mr. Chips: The protagonist continues teaching his class, reading them a translation of Ceasar, while they're all crouched under their tables during a German air raid.
  • Lean on Me plays Principal Joe Clark as a heroic example of this.
  • Return from Witch Mountain has Yo-yo, a bus driver who doggedly pursues the gang of truant kids. He's a good guy, though, and eventually gets them to agree to go back to school.
  • Although initially motivated purely by self-interest (if they don't pass he doesn't get tenure), Mr. Shoop becomes this over the course of Summer School as he advocates ever more forcefully for his remedial English students.

  • Invoked by Souichi Nishimura, aka Iron Man/Tetsujin of Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts, by showing up out of the blue anywhere an avatar has "died", whether in a school battle, or even while taking a bath at a bathhouse, to take them to remedial classroom. Resident Butt-Monkey Ahikhisa Yoshii is often victim to this.
    Tetsujin: "Those who died, meet me in the remedial classroom!"
  • Wayside School: In the third book, one of the teachers who takes over for Mrs. Jewels while she's on maternity leave is Ms. Drazil, who unlike the other replacements is kind, sweet, and grandmotherly...but she made Louis shave off his mustache, so the kids decide she needs to go. Turns out that despite her outward friendliness, she is one of these and if you ever had her as a teacher, she will hold a grudge for any rule breaking forever. One student discovers that his Depraved Dentist never turned in her homework, and even though she has since grown up, moved away, and has a different last name now, Ms. Drazil is still on her tail. The kids leak her location, the dentist flees for her life rather than complete the homework, Drazil pursues, and neither is ever heard from again.
  • The Gordon Korman book Don't Care High has the guidance counselor Mr. Morrison, who strives to get the extremely apathetic student body (who won't even join the sports teams or bother turning in accurate homework assignments) to care about something and displays almost alarming ecstasy once they finally do.

    Live Action TV 

    Video Games 
  • The teachers and prefects in Bully turn into this if they see you truanting or breaking curfew.
  • The teachers in Skool Daze and its sequel Back To Skool can normally be knocked down with a well-placed catapult pellet, but if you get given too many lines, or meet one of the instant game over conditions, they will pursue you relentlessly, catapult pellets pinging harmlessly off them, until they catch and expel you.
  • Played for Horror with Baldi from Baldi's Basics in Education and Learning. Answer just one of his math problems wrong (one of which, is literally impossible to get correct), and Baldi absolutely snaps, relentlessly chasing you around the school with a ruler and a terrifying Death Glare.
  • In Marco & the Galaxy Dragon, student council member Sakurako Onda is introduced smashing through the door of a restaurant where a truant student works in order to physically drag that student back to class.
  • Director Clavell of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is the headmaster of the regional Academy of Adventure, and he has a vested interest in stopping the gang of delinquents calling themselves Team Star because he genuinely cares for his students and wants to see them return to class. After a year of truancy and bullying he issues an ultimatum that they'll be expelled if they continue their behavior, but he doesn't want it to come to that and joins the Player Character in their quest to force them to disband in an attempt to Save the Villain.

    Web Comics 
  • El Goonish Shive: The Moperville North Principal is fanatical about his new uniforms (right up until parents complainnote ), and the importance of murals. He seems to think everything else will follow naturally from that.
  • The Greenhouse: The flashback chapters show us that Avery was a rare student version, doing everything in her power to keep Mica on campus (up to and including tackling her out of a tree) and encouraging her to actually do her schoolwork, so Mica wouldn't get in trouble with the teachers. Cute, even wholesome, but with the benefit of foresight, this was obviously an early sign of her controlling personality, her need to have the people she liked doing things her way and only her way.
  • The Perry Bible Fellowship has a truancy bot collect children on the spring break.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons: In the episode "The Boy Who Knew Too Much", ex-Green Beret Principal Skinner tracked Bart across Springfield (even climbing a cliff and walking straight through a river after Bart cut the rope bridge over it) to get him back to class. Bart, upon seeing this, utters the line. A few other episodes (such as "Skinner's Sense of Snow") also show that he absolutely refuses to close down his school, even if it's affected by anything from dangerously unsafe facilities to very dangerous snow days.
  • Mrs. Puff in SpongeBob SquarePants is relentlessly determined to continue teaching SpongeBob how to drive a boat, despite the mass destruction and post-traumatic stress his terrible (or rather frankly horrifying) boating skills cause. She founded her boating school by pledging, "as long as a student is willing to learn, I shall never give up!" She has tried to get him killed a few times, though, because she's that fed up with him.
  • Mr. Lancer in Danny Phantom is bent that his students focus on the Northwestern Nine standardized testing that he calls SWAT teams on them when they get distracted by a popular singer so they can all be house arrested (and presumably, study in preparation). Both Lancer and the principal installed advanced tutoring computers in order to get all the students to pass.
  • Donald Duck: In some of the older cartoons, Donald was often seen playing an implacable truant officer trying to get his nephews to school (sort of ironic considering Donald himself had a truancy problem in an earlier short, and had to have his good angel literally boot him in the butt to be well behaved). Once he finally managed to get his nephews to school, but it turned out to be closed for the summer holidays (and in the comic book adaptation, even that did not got in the way of Donald getting the last word for all the pain they put him through - he mentioned that as a truant officer he had the school's keys, made them enter and write "crime does not pay" a hundred times each).
  • Casper the Friendly Ghost: Like in the above case, Little Audrey spent most of an episode trying to avoid a truant officer. Once he finally caught her, he learned the school was closed for a holiday. To make up for it, he helped Audrey with her fishing.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: Truant Officer Shallowgrave goes to whatever length to ensure kids go to school. But the principal has to pay extra to bring them back alive. Shallowgrave appeared in three episodes so far. In the first, he spent most of it chasing Timmy Turner, only to learn Timmy was with Adam West and that Timmy's parents don't mind it. In the second episode, it was revealed the incident cost Shallowgrave his job as a truant officer and he became a drill sergeant at F.U.N. (For Unruly Ne'er-do-wells) Academy. He makes a third appearance where he's revealed to have regained his former job as a truant officer.
  • On Ricochet Rabbit and Droop-a-Long Coyote, Ricochet Rabbit and his deputy once acted as truant officers to take Dastardly Dolton to school. (He's a suspected criminal as well but nothing has been proven). Once they caught him, the teacher read the records and found out they also hadn't finished school.
  • On The Huckleberry Hound Show Huck once spent most of an episode trying to catch a pair of twin truants. In the end, his efforts paid off and the principal comments that it should have been no problem for someone who went to school. Huck said he's never been to school and was forced to attend.
  • In the non-silent era of The Pink Panther, there was a story where Pink was a teacher and the Principal ordered him to make a troublemaker interested in school. Pink took the boy to a park and the Principal followed them to get proof to convince his superior to fire Pink. In the end, not only an accident destroyed his proof but his superior, who was the boy's grandmother, fired him.
  • The Screwy Truant has Screwy Squirrel pursued by a truant officer dog — who only finds out after catching him that Screwy was out of school due to having measles.
  • Bugs Bunny impersonated a truant officer in "Bewitched Bunny". Subverted in that he was rescuing Hansel and Gretel from Witch Hazel.
  • Truant Officer Langley Turk in the Fillmore! episode "Field Trip of the Just". He plunges all the way into Inspector Javert territory, hunting Fillmore all the across the city and ignoring the fact that Fillmore had a note from the principal permitting him to be out of school; having decided on the basis of Fillmore's old record that it must be a forgery.
  • Johnny Test had to deal with one in the episode "Johnny's Day Off". Johnny's sisters have to deal with him as well because he doesn't believe they attend Pork Belly Institute of Technology.
  • Arthur: An unusual example in the blizzard episode, where Mr. Ratburn forces not the students, but his boss Principal Haney to stay overnight at the school to help the janitor do emergency maintenance on the plumbing, for fear of an accident shutting down the school for weeks or even months.


Video Example(s):


Phillium Benedict

Obsessed with bringing Test Scores up, Benedict enacted a policy to get rid of Recess altogether.

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / NonGivingUpSchoolGuy

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