Ugh, school, am I right? Nah, just kidding, school’s pretty awesome. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I know that I’m wearing rose-colored goggles, but I also genuinely believe that our school days are objectively pretty darn good, overall. Well, except for a few… minor complications when it comes to rules.
You see, schools are like a microcosm of society: they’re full of some really cool stuff that is, unfortunately, balanced out by some rules and regulations that are absolute BS. Just how much BS are we talking about? As it turns out, cartloads of it. And it stinks to high heaven. One redditor proved this to the internet after asking their fellow users to share the dumbest rules their schools have ever enforced.
Check out some of the best of the worst ones below and upvote the ones that made you shake your head like a food critic being served microwaved meals. Oh, and be sure to share some of the mind-bogglingly bad rules that you’ve experienced first-hand in the comments.
Toilet paper rationing. This was in 1997/98, btw. Apparently the high school girls room was going through too much toilet paper so the dean, a woman, stood outside the door and distributed a few squares of 1-ply institutional toilet paper to us as we went in. If she noticed toilet paper on the floor, our ration got cut down. If we asked for more for...bigger jobs...we were told to saved it for home.
There were several episodes of girls stuck in stalls until friends could beg for more TP because of period messes or unexpected bowel incidents. The dean wouldn't even hand it over--she would go in the bathroom and pass it a few squares at a time over the door. If you didn't catch it as it fell and it landed on the floor, well, that's your fault and you're not getting more. If you used more than she thought necessary, tough luck, go to class with blood/sh*t on your body.
It took about a week of extremely angry parents coming to the school and calling both the school and the school board, but we finally got our toilet paper back, unlimited.
How did we celebrate?
By TPing her car, of course.
Rule: No duct tape ON clothing.
Reason: Some girls thought they could get past the "no ripped jeans" rule by covering the tears with duct tape. It became a "fad" and everyone started doing it so it got banned. A kid in my AP literature class found a loophole and MADE an entire outfit out of red and black duct tape. I mean Shorts, A TShirt AND a jacket and SHOES. When the school tried to suspend him they couldn't because the rule Was " No Duct Tape ON clothes" It said nothing about clothes made OUT OF duct tape... He won the argument and even wore the outfit a few more times to Say "F***k you " to the school and principles lol .
I wasn’t allowed to test my blood sugar in class (type 1 diabetic). Some teachers didn’t care but most made a fuss about it. “Go to the nurses office if you need to do that, it’s a distraction to everybody and other students might get freaked out by the needles” even though it was just a little prick that nobody could ever even see, and none of my classmates ever complained.
Told my parents about the rule, my dad got furious and told me to do it anyways, and that I have absolutely nothing to worry about as far as getting in trouble at home goes. So to me, this was free reign to stick it to the f**kers at school. I tested every class, more than I needed to, just to spite them. Eventually I got sent to the office and my principal called my dad. Dad showed up, and I’ve barely ever seen him as furious as he was that day. He was cursing, yelling, tearing papers off of walls.
I was never, ever, ever bothered about it again.
Redditor SoLe123456’s thread went super-viral on the r/AskReddit subreddit. At the time of writing, in less than a single day, it already racked up 70.6k upvotes (and counting!). What’s more, the thread got over 34.7k comments and 400+ awards, showing just how many dumb school rules there really are on Planet Earth.
Nobody’s saying that rules aren’t needed. They’re incredibly important! They help create structure where needed, give us clarity, and provide us with a sense of security. This last one, security, helps us focus on what’s important. Without it, you’d constantly be living in a state of anxiety which will affect your performance at school and, later on, at work. In case you need further proof, just take a look at how much anxiety the Covid-19 pandemic introduced and how it affected your schoolwork and ability to concentrate.
My highschool had "coordinates", not a uniform. But they stopped selling the shorts like a decade before I started there... So me and a bunch of buddies tracked down used pairs and started wearing them.
Next year, shorts were banned outright... So me and a bunch of buddies on the rugby team started wearing skirts, because the rules said skirts were acceptable, but didn't specify gender. So you had a bunch of guys with hairy, hairy legs walking around in skirts we deliberately hiked up a little to show some thigh.
Shorts were allowed again in a week.
I got Saturday school for missing a day of classes when I was 16. Seems reasonable, except I missed to go complete my US citizenship and officially become a citizen alongside my mom (it took us 12 years to go through the legal process, btw. Whole other issue). I had a note from my mother as well as a signed official Federal form they give you to explain to school/employers why you were absent. Apparently the only acceptable absence excuse was illness. I got punished for becoming a citizen
"Don't damage school property" sounds reasonable enough until you get detention for staining a chair after suddenly getting your period.
But! And there’s a big ‘but’ here! Not all rules are created equal. Not by a longshot. They have to be fair. They have to make life easier. They have to make sense. And some ‘rules’ fail on all counts, making us ask, why the ever-loving-frick they even exist at all if they only work to make everything more difficult. Can’t the teachers realize that they don’t make any sense??!?
Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as creating the perfect set of rules. It’s just not doable. However, this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t attempt to make life better for students and teachers alike. Perfection is a process. A process of constant growth and improvement. And that means letting some rules go the way of the dodo. Though, that’s a bit unfair to the dodo—I’d pick the bird any day of the week over most of the rules featured in this list.
We suddenly one day weren’t allowed to stand in circles during recess because, and I quote “we could be dealing drugs.” I will add that for the years prior we had been standing in circles no problem.
Next recess, we stood in a triangle, cue principle going apes**t. Next day we stood in a square, principle kept us inside for a week. And threatened us all with detentions if we did it again etc.
I believe their idea was open ended circles so they could see what we were doing. Still stupid.
I got a suspension for holding a stick. The phone call with my mom went something like this (only slightly dramatized):
School: Mrs. TheQueq, your son has been suspended.
Mom: Oh my goodness, what did he do?
S: He was holding a stick.
M: Did he hit someone with it?
S: No. He was just holding it.
M: ...Did he threaten to hit someone with it?
S: No, just held it.
M: Did he refuse to put it down when you asked?
S: No, no, he was very cooperative.
M: So... what did he do wrong?
S: He held a stick.
M: And I should be upset about that?
S: Absolutely, you know we have a zero tolerance policy.
M: Right... well, I'll talk with him.
As you might guess, I did not get in trouble at home.
Rules (and their consequences) have to be communicated very clearly, they have to be enforced consistently, and they must be timely. However, at the core of our need for rules is the fact that they’re supposed to solve a specific problem that we have. If instead they create additional chaos, demotivate students and teachers alike, and make people wonder why they’re in place at all, they’re awful rules. Get rid of them.
What’s more, rules can’t be created in a metaphorical bubble. The people who will be affected the most ought to at least have a say because they might notice some glaring flaws that would otherwise be ignored.
Early 2000s our school banned mp3 players with the reasoning, they would make us anti social.
As protest, we blocked the access to the teacher's lounge by silently stand there reading books and shush-ing every Teacher trying to get past, while also making a petition to include books in the ban, since obviously they too made us anti social.
Just means that if someone starts a fight with you, you fight back as hard as you can. You're going to get suspended for defending yourself anyway, might as well make it worthwhile.
Girls MUST have a male escort them to prom as their date. If your date bails, you can't enter.
We were an all girls school. Many of us had zero guy friends. Finding dates was hard. I remember one year a girl's boyfriend dumped her when everyone was starting to show up for photos. She showed up at the venue, mascara running, begging the principal to let her go in. Principal wouldn't let her. One of the senior homeroom teachers ended up calling her nephew and said, "I need you to put on your suit and get here ASAP." He showed up with flowers and everything. So like... it was salvageable but totally avoidable.
The worst part? It wasn't always a rule until one year a group of girls went as friends and kept "stealing" other people's dates. Way to punish everyone forever because of one group of bi**hes.
Furthermore, you can’t expect rules to be perfect the moment you make them. They have to be improved and adapted over time. Yes, it’s difficult, exhausting, and everyone would rather just get on with it, but on the other hand, the rules we live by form the foundations of our lives. We deserve rock-solid foundations, not fractured ones.
Don’t hold on to a rule, regulation, or school-life structure just because you’ve gotten used to it and because it’s been the way things have always been done. Think about better alternatives. Adapt, otherwise what you’ll end up with is a bunch of rules that people remember not because of how awesome they sounded on paper but because of how incredibly dumb and flawed they were in reality.
In high school, the supervisor told the prefects and head girls to break up girls hugging in the hallways .I went to an only girls school and teachers discouraged girls from hugging each other. Apparently they thought that it encouraged 'lesbianism'. smh.
Skirt had to be a certain length. That's not the dumb part. If a teacher thought it was too short you had to KNEEL SO THEY COULD SEE WHERE THE HEM CAME TO ON YOUR LEGS. Was this a Christian private school where old male teachers were making middle school girls kneel on the floor to check their skirt length? Why, yes it was. I never wore skirts, so I was spared, but God, I hated that school.
Locked the only boys bathroom because someone wrote on the wall in sharpie. It wasn't even anything rude or inappropriate either. It was just the word "hi" or something like that.
Didn't unlock the door until one boy wet himself and parents threatened to sue.
No coloured bras. I went to an all-girls school and we wore uniforms and the top was a light colour and very see-through for some reason (so it was easy to tell if you had a pink bra on for example). The weird thing was it was always the male teachers who called students out for breaking this rule.... yikes
I spent 2 years in a private christian school where girls could not wear skirts or dresses unless it covered their whole legs all the way down to their feet. We were between 3 and 8 years old and that rule was meant to make sure boys wouldn't have any sexual temptation. This is not a joke.
Guys were free to wear pants in cold days but girls had to wear a skirt no matter how cold it was
At my high school, girls could not wear sandals or shoes that showed toes because, “toes make boys think of babies”. And babies made boys think of sex, and naturally sex is the devil.
my high school decided to ban women’s athletic shorts one day which was ridiculous for many reasons. the next day every girl showed up in athletic shorts & the rule was removed by second block
If you throw snowballs, you get a one day suspension. The first long weekend after a snowfall everyone would throw snowballs to get an additional day added to the long weekend.
You have to wear your tie all the way home. Some sad bastard teachers would stand on the main road away from the school and try to hand out detentions in presumably their own time
Banned all backpacks / bags on campus. Students were expected to somehow carry everything they needed in hand.
This was especially challenging if you had a non ideal locker placement.
‘No ripped jeans’
They enforced it to the point that when I fell in school, scrapped me knee and ended up needing stitches (obviously ripping my jeans in the process). They still dragged me to the office to suspend me for the day because me jeans were ripped. I was left there, stitched up, blood drying on my jeans as the vice principal yelled at me that my outfit was “inappropriate”.
Add on: I went to a private school outside of the US, we had a doctor on call so he stitched me up at school, notified my parents and gave the okay on me going back to class. The vp didn’t notify my parents I was getting suspended for the day until after I went home and told them myself.
Girls weren’t allowed to show their ankles. The dean had a pack of socks in her office she would give the students and make them wear. Only girls tho. This was the 2000s.
In grade school, we weren't allowed to play on the playground equipment when it snowed. Eventually, were weren't allowed to play with snow or even go near it- I got in trouble for sitting in snow.
This was in Minnesota where it snows half the year. Recess basically consisted of milling around the blacktop for thirty minutes.
Can’t be standing around in groups more than 4 “gang mentality”
Girls were not allowed to wear cycling shorts under their PE skirts. They wanted us to wear these dark green PE pants, basically just underwear and it was gross. My year protested, we said shorts or nothing and they backed off. This was 20+ years ago and it's totally different now, girls wear what they want for PE.
No farting in class.
They would say "if u need to fart then go to the toilet" but then 9 times out of 10 if u asked to go the toilet they'd say no
One particular professor at my university would lock the door a minute after class began. If you had to leave to go to the bathroom, you couldn't get back in.
Somehow this ancient fossil is still teaching and pulling similar stuff.
We weren’t allowed to wear thongs. I don’t know how they caught people who did tbh
No leaving the dorm unless it's for a fire alarm.
I went to boarding school from the age of 7. That rule meant we couldn't get out of our dormitory to have a wee in the night. We had a plastic tub one of the girls brought in and went in that. Then we had to smuggle the tub to the bathroom in the morning without matron seeing. Stupid bloody rule!
No beads. Apparently they thought beaded jewelry was gang related?
They outlawed bracelets because there was an article in a magazine somewhere saying they advertised what sexual acts you were open for based on their colour.
Then someone tried to outlaw wrist watches for the same reason.
You had to wear your ID around your neck on a rope thing.
Then the chokings started.
"No Satanic Drawings"
What qualified as Satanic was anything the teachers or faculty deemed as such, including the Star of David
In high school, hair length on men and stubble. Look, a bunch of 15-16 year old guys are going to have a bit of stubble no matter how thoroughly we shave. Forcing us to go to the principal's office to dry shave nearly daily is freakin absurd.
Elementary school principal banned talking at lunch. If you were caught talking or even signing to someone, you had to go sit by yourself on a folding chair with no table.
There was once my mom came to eat lunch with my older sister and I. The principal was like " Oh you should go eat out in the hallway with your daughters" and she was like "nah, I'm gonna sit here with my daughter and her friends and talk to them and enjoy their presence" (usually if a parent came for lunch the student could invite one friend to join, unless you had siblings. Then it was too many people so you couldn't invite a friend). Anyway, one of my older sister's friends whispered to my mom that she was going to move so she wouldn't get in trouble for talking. THIS WAS A NINE YEAR OLD.
We once had a rule that we could only go to the bathroom during class. Not in the breaks. Only during class.
We were not allowed to put our coats on until we were outside
During winter when we would have a storm, we had to go outside in the rain to put our coats on or face receiving a detention if we put them on in the corridor
Dumbest Rule: Zero tolerance for fighting. This meant both the kid who started the fight AND the kid who got beat on were both suspended. If the kid who got beat on just took it, he was just sent home for the rest of the day. If he dared to fight back, he was suspended for a week just like the kid who started the fight. Here's the truly stupid part: The school administrators couldn't explain how this led to MORE BRUTAL fights.
"No fighting", enforced by punishing the kids who were getting hit.
My primary school had this wierd obsession with safety. When we played dodgeball the boys had to throw with their non-dominant hand while the girls got to throw full force. And we could get detention for going where the teachers couldn't see us. But the worst rule by far was that we weren't allowed to run on the playground, I'll never forget the time my teacher literally said, "the playground is no place to run."
My friend nearly got suspended for wearing a trench coat, it was the Late 90s, probably didn't help that he had long hair, was shy, and weird
Candy canes were outlawed because you could sharpen them to a point and use them as a shiv.
I went to school in rural Washington. We were definitely weren’t somewhere that shankings were to be expected
It wasn't really the rule that was dumb but the reason for it. In my last year of high school, the school issued a rule that all students had to wear student IDs. If you didn't, you had to immediately go and pay for another ID. While you can see how many students may have saw this a way to skip class, the reason for this was the school shootings that happened the previous year.
The reasoning was that it would be easier to spot who is a student and who is not a student to then see who has malicious intent.....except that most shooters were students....so....
Not really a rule, but the toilet paper Holders are OUTSIDE of the Stalls on a wall. So you have to calculate before taking a dump how much you need and hope that it was enough
If you were caught on your phone they’d take it until the end of the week. you’d get it back at half 3 on friday. parents went mental and a few even came together and sent bills through for part of the phone bills, they ditched that rule after 2 weeks.