Some examples of normal school rules would be no running in the halls, no throwing food, and no skipping classes. Those rules make sense right? They keep students responsible and they maintain order.
But some schools have rules that make absolutely no sense. These rules are less about maintaining order and more about the rule enforcer having too much power go to their head.
Find The Loophole
“Our handbook stated that you could only address teachers as, ‘Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss, Dr., or Coach’.
The 60-year-old woman (who was in no way involved with athletics) that taught biology tried to write a referral to one of my friends who insisted on calling her Coach for insubordination. Admin couldn’t do anything about it, so they removed Coach from the list of acceptable names and re-issued the handbook.”
Rock, Paper, Scissors Is Banned
“Around my last year of primary school (Brit here), they suddenly added a rule where you can’t talk during your lunch. They said it was so we’d have more time to play afterwards, but you’d have to wait to be dismissed first so how long it takes to eat doesn’t matter at all
At first everyone was silent apart from a few whispers behind the teachers backs, but then it transitioned into everyone talking quietly. I think the teachers gave in at that point as they said that we can talk as long as it’s quiet, then everyone learned to gradually get louder so by the time I left it was back to normal level.
Another time, towards the end of the year I spent at my prep school, my year group was on a coach coming back from a school trip (each year was small enough to fit onto one coach – I think the entire school only had about 100 or so people), where behind me were two classmates were playing Rock Paper Scissors with a twist: if you get Rock you punch the other person, if Paper you slap them and if Scissors you pinch them. This didn’t take long to spread around the whole year and eventually the whole school was doing it. It became so popular that in the last couple of weeks, the headteacher made an announcement in an assembly that [forgot what they called this version of Rock Paper Scissors] is banned as it was getting out of hand. I though this was fair enough but a second later the head said that because [said version of Rock Paper Scissors] comes from the original version, it will be banned in its entirety. After that everyone was talking about if they should do Rock Paper Scissors just to see if they get punished (doubt they would though).”
“When I was in 5th grade there were these awful stoplight looking things that had microphones installed on them to gauge how loud the ambient noise was. There were like 6 of them, and if a single one read too high then the entire room had to be silent for 5 minutes, and if a single kid made a sound, the entire table they were at would be kept inside for recess. They were also set to be stupidly sensitive.
After a month, a group of kids grabbed screwdrivers and turned all of the sensitivity knobs down to minimum. That worked for a while but eventually the lunch monitors realized and had a janitor reset them.
On the third month, some kid brought a slingshot and pegged one with a steel ball. It fell off the wall and hit some other kid in the head. That was on a Friday, and when we came back on Monday they were gone, and the lunch monitors had a shiny new megaphone.”
Too Controlling On The Food
“Two that both happened in high school: No high fives, as administration considered it bullying. They never once explained how, but it was.
They banned any drink that wasn’t water or plain milk. They would actually check lunch bags as kids entered to make sure they weren’t sneaking anything in. They were especially hard on hot beverages. The years before, high schoolers could have coffee/tea from home, but then they became convinced we were adding sugar to it and banned it. I was getting over laryngitis once and had a travel mug of hot water with honey and lemon like my doctor suggested, and the witch of a gym teacher snatched it and dumped it even though I had a doctor’s note.
Bonus: we were a K-12 school. They gave 18 year old seniors the same size portions as 6 year old kindergarteners. Aka 3 chicken nuggets and four carrot sticks, then they’d yell at the older kids if they brought snacks and stuff to eat.”
They Warned Her
“You had to finish all the food on your plate.
The worst part was that my teacher made me put on foods that I didn’t like eating, so I told her that I will get nauseous but she didn’t listen. It didn’t take long until I got so nauseous that I threw up all over the table.”
“Just ‘Sit There'”
“During exams at school (internal ones) we used to sit in the exam hall for the whole week. A bunch of us finished our exams on Thursday morning because of the subjects we chose to study, so we brought reading books.
About an hour later we were told we weren’t allowed to read. When we asked what we were supposed to do, the teachers told us to study. When we said we had nothing to study for they were stunned. So instead of admitting they were wrong, they instead told us to just ‘sit there’. Now I don’t know if any of you have had to sit at a desk in a school hall for two days straight with nothing to distract you but your angsty teenage thoughts, but it’s pretty close to how I imagine solitary confinement in prison is.”
“‘Anyone caught with a chestnut gets suspended.’
There was a chestnut tree (wild, ‘horse-chestnut’) in the schoolyard, so one of the activities during recess was of course having chestnut wars. When they were in season, as soon as we’d get out, everyone would pick up as many as they found, take cover, and start launching them at each other. We were all often bruised by it but no one was a specific target, so it wasn’t bullying. I guess we all saw it as more of a friendly sport. It was the status quo and the school didn’t seem to mind much, until someone threw one so hard it cracked the window on a teacher’s car. A kid admitted it was him but still, it turned into a big thing and they got strict about not allowing it.
After years and years of not seeing each other, a few months ago (by an unrelated sad circumstance), a handful of us from class got reunited for a lunch and walk about town. Someone mentioned the chestnut incident, and as we talked about it, one of the guys said ‘It was actually me who cracked that window, I’m sure of it. I threw that chestnut and followed it with laser focus until it hit that car by accident. I knew it was me but no one else did, and then the other kid admitted to it. I never learned why he did, but of course I never complained.'”
Get Out Of Jail Free Cards
“In 11th and 12th grade we had four ‘get out of jail cards’ per half year. You could hand those in after missing up to two days without an excuse.
The problem was that if you were late for more than 45 minutes you had to use one of those. So if I overslept and calculated that I will miss more than 45 minutes I decided that I might as well stay home for a day or two. And I wasn’t the only.”
“‘Only Seniors are allowed through that door.’
The only door that went between the main building and the smaller teaching block. I was 7 years old, had to get back from the library to my classroom, I was in a weird country, it was raining and dark at like 3pm. I get stopped by a member of staff I’ve never seen before, and asked why I’m using that door.
‘Because I’m going over there, to my classroom..?’
‘This door is FOR SENIORS ONLY! Did no-one tell you that?’
‘Why? WHY?! Get back in there and take the long way round like everyone else.’
Never made any freaking sense to me. The whole time I was there I must have had 20 detentions for using that door. When I became a Senior I used to encourage as many kids as I could to use it, holding it open for them.
When I went back for our 20 year re-union the two teachers I spoke to (one of whom is now the Head) denied that was ever a thing.”
“In my elementary school, the 5th grade girls were subject to bra checks every morning by the female principal. It wasn’t invasive per se, she simply would run her hand down their backs to ensure they were wearing one. If they were not wearing them, they were sent home.
This was in a very conservative state in 2000. This school was very backwards. They once tried to suspend me when I was in the 1st grade for not standing for the national anthem. I was scolded by the teacher in front of my whole class for making a political statement. I was 6.”
No Hoods In Winter?
“Nothing with a hood could be worn. The Vice Principal threatened to cut the hoods off if he caught students wearing one, and would stand at the schools entrance carrying around a pair of scissors. I don’t know of any instances of people losing their hoods so it was mostly just a scare tactic to ‘enforce’ it. Some people had their hoodie/jacket confiscated but returned at the end of the day, hood intact.
It was such a bizarre rule. Came out of nowhere in the middle of winter and was enforced for only a few weeks before people stopped caring.”
No Bathroom Privacy
“In high school all the men’s rooms had the doors removed and openly visible to the halls. Girls however were allowed to have doors on the restrooms. This was in place well before I got to the school so I don’t know the story behind it.
Also the school was two floors and part of a community college campus so the basement was all college classes. We weren’t allowed there. I was going for a different track than what the school wanted us to dual enroll in so I had one of those classes. I can’t tell you how many times I got sent to the office for going to class.”
Buy Your Way Out Of Detention
“At one school I subbed at, if you bring 10 canned items for the campus food pantry, you can buy your way out of detention.
The policy has a socio-economic/class bias in favor of higher income students whose families can afford to buy surplus food. Honestly, the admin is so incompetent AND lacking in empathy, I’m not sure if the class bias is intentional or an oversight.
This was in a high school where 85% of students were free lunch kids. The free lunch kids were the ones USING the pantry to put food on the table. They’re not kids who have enough disposable income to bring 10 canned good in order to buy back 2 hours of their life.”
Freaking Out Over Duct Tape
“No colored duct tape. Our principal was a proud and very openly homophobic prick. If he saw any boy that did something he considered feminine he would ban it. This was also 2001-2005 so major emo period with long hair, eyeliner and painted nails.
My brother was openly gay and was a common target for this prick. One day my brother’s backpack ripped and all we had was colored duct tape from moving that we used to color code boxes. He slapped some purple duct tape on his bag and went about his business. Lo and behold by lunch principal prickface is frothing at the mouth and makes an announcement that colored duct tape is banned from school grounds.
Dude got sued several time before I graduated over his harassment.”
Specific, But Not Specific Enough
“It was 1976; I was a sophomore at a small private school. At one point, our Headmaster (after losing his ‘no jeans’ mandate spectacularly -we simply didn’t comply) felt he had to the die on the hill of not allowing boys to wear T-shirts. ‘ALL boys shall wear only shirts with collars!’ was the new rule.
You have to be careful when you make rules. You have to cover any loopholes, especially when it is applied to clever, rebellious students.
The next day, each boy came to school with a random collar, cut from a dress shirt, stuck, pinned, sewn… onto a T-shirt. And anywhere on the shirt: the front center, the hem, a sleeve-some had added several collars all over to ‘cover the bases.’ Never one around the neck! It was a wonderfully snarky display. The Headmaster neglected to specify that it it couldn’t be a T-shirt, or a collared shirt; just a shirt with a collar. Loophole found and closed!
So the collar rule went down like the Hindenburg.
I have to note that our faculty was pretty liberal and convinced our Headmaster to give it up with silly dress codes. They didn’t care what the kids were wearing; they wanted our butts in class, not being sent home for ‘wardrobe infractions.’
The dress code evolved to ‘clean and appropriate’ which made everyone happy. The ‘appropriate’ verbiage was sufficiently vague so as to cover too-short skirts, visible underwear, or T-shirts with swears on them on a case-by-case basis. We students thought that was more than fair.”
Women Only Rules
“A school rule that angered me no end was that freshman year at the University of Arkansas, the women were treated like criminals while the men had no restrictions on their behavior at all.
We had to be in the dorm at some ridiculously-early time of the night, studying from materials clearly related to our classes, and leaving our doors open while the wardens patrolled the halls. They would have the nerve to come into the room to see what we were working on, giving their approval or demerits for breaking the rules. Then, for about half an hour after the study period, we all had to get showered and back into our rooms as fast as we could. We were not supposed to go to the bathrooms for any reason until the next morning. I had been fending for myself for many years, and these horrid rules were why I transferred out of that place at the end of freshman year.
If you made the dean’s list, as I did the whole time, you could go out on a date one Wednesday a month. I enjoyed getting out of prison, but everybody who didn’t make the dean’s list hated me for getting to go out.
What had happened was that the year before, the UofA had been declared the nation’s #1 party school, and the school decided to crack down on the freshman women at the start of the next school year. Not only did I transfer, I vowed that I would never darken that campus again as long as I live. I have kept my vow.
Suffice it to say that I hated every second of every day at the University of Arkansas, especially when the school decided it had been too hard on the women. The very next years, they gave the freshmen women keys to the doors, and they had the same rights as the men to come and go as they pleased.”
Permission Slips To Read
“My favorite book series is The Unwanteds. Anyways, I lent the first two books to a couple of my friends to read.
They were reading it in school when the principle walks up to them and takes the books away. (They were not reading during class.) Why? Because if you want to bring a book to school you have to fill out a form for it, have your parents sign it, and give the form to the principle and make sure she approves the book. This was the first time she ever mentioned the rule to anyone and she still took away the books. My friends tried telling her, ‘the book isn’t ours, it belongs to someone else’. She still took the book away. And not only that, but if I wanted my books back THEY had to bring in a form approved by both their parents and the principle.
So she basically took away my books because of a rule she never told us about, I had no way of getting my books back, and when my mom went to try and take them back the principal got upset. However, after my mom begged for a while she finally gave in and gave back my books. These books are my life, and of all books she could have taken away, she had to take away THOSE ones. Like if someone took away your Percy Jackson or your Harry Potter. She took away MY books when I wasn’t there, because of a rule she didn’t tell us about!
For a few weeks after that, I was filling out forms to bring in books, but then I realized that this rule only seemed to apply to me and my friends. No one else knew about this rule, and no one else was bringing in any forms, and they were reading books all the time. The most upsetting parts were that we never knew about the rule, and even after the incident she didn’t try to educate other people about the rule making it only relevant to me and my friends. So basically, there is a rule at my school and a permission slip that was designed just for me! How amazing, because EVERYONE wants those own personal prohibition.”
Phone = Bad
“My school have a morning prayer going from around 7:00 to 7:20. Starting at 7AM which sounds really early even from me even for someone who studied at this school for 11 years. My school had Kindergarten, Elementary, Junior and Senior High school packed into a complex and I started there from 1st grade Elementary.
Usually if we’re lucky enough (lucky here meaning the teacher who held the gate is nice and let us go through) we can enter 1–2 minutes late, any later than that and we get locked behind a second gate that’s inside of the school.
My every Monday-Friday morning consists of me running like crazy from the car ’cause of the traffic jams and coming to the gate with mere seconds before the security closes it up. Add that with me being a lazy fatso I usually end up gasping for air at the end of the run.
Last time though I managed to come to school surprisingly earlier than I expected, and the morning went as usual and I didn’t mess anything up. There wasn’t the usual headmaster-ranting-for-infinite-hours-long-after-prayer happening, and we all went to our classes in peace.
Not for the students who came late though.
See, there’s these two older teachers that came up with this:
Being on your phone late at night = sleeping in late
Sleeping in late = Go to school late
Go school late = bad
Therefor- Phone = bad.
‘You’re late for more than twice? Give me the phone.'”
“I graduated from high school almost twenty years ago so I had forgotten many weird school rules.
- Teacher told you to break up with your girlfriend or boyfriend when National Examination was drawing near. This rule was never officially put into action. A senior teacher told the students who dated to end their relationship because National Examination was drawing near. The reason was pretty simple, to avoid distraction in studying for the exam.
- Birthday celebrations were banned. Our overly conservative teachers had made it official that we couldn’t celebrate our birthday at school because they believed students would do crazy things like egg war, flour war, food war or making stupid pranks. In fact we never did it, all we did to celebrate our birthday here was bringing a cake to school and share it with everyone. Since the rule came into effect, nobody even dared to congratulate our friends who celebrated their birthday. The punishment on the violation of this rule was being summoned to vice headmaster room for disciplinary session.
- Smartphones were banned. My high school had officially banned smartphones. We were told to leave our smartphones at home. The reason was really pathetic, our teachers fount out students were using their smartphones to record their teachers when they grumbled during teaching and we made it viral on social media as a joke. Sometimes, the video when they grumbled got turned into a meme. They knew it and they constantly monitored popular social media used by students.
- Overly strict dress code. Our high school instructed all students to wear the same shoes from one same brand only! I suspect there is something fishy about this but I didn’t know what to do. What really ticked me was we had to put name tag on our dresses and it is a permanent name tag sewed on the dress. If we didn’t have name tag on our dress, the teacher would write our names on our dress with permanent marker.
- Mandatory ponytail for girls. Our old historian teacher seemed to have weird preference. He liked girls with ponytails but the problem was, he told all the girls in our class to have ponytail hairstyle, especially for those girls with long and medium hairs. He would grumble if he found any girl in his class not having ponytail hairstyle.”