November 21, 2019 | Casey Fletcher

Students Share The Dumbest Rules They Had In School

We all had rules in school: No eating in class, keep your hands and feet to yourself, be kind to each other, don't run in the hallways—pretty standard, right? But did you ever have a teacher drive you home from school to change your uniform pants because they weren't the correct shade of blue? Have you ever been sent to detention for wearing ankle socks? Did you have to follow a strict set of guidelines regarding hair length? These students share the craziest rules they had in school.


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#1 No Sugary Food

In primary school, we weren't allowed to hug or share any food, clothes or shoes. We weren't allowed erasers or ANY sugary food.

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#2 Smoke Box

When I was a freshman in high school (late '80s) there was a designated smoking area on campus. It was a square, maybe 10 x 10 painted on the ground in the courtyard. Students could only smoke in that box on campus. The next year, they decided that you could only smoke in that box if you had a note from your parents. The year after that, no students were allowed to smoke on campus. My senior year, the staff weren't allowed to smoke on campus. This resulted in the box metaphorically moving to someone's driveway across the street, where students and teachers were all smoking together.

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#3 No Spoons

In grade school, we were told not to use spoons. Only babies used spoons. Yet they still gave us spoons.

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#4 No Hats

"No hats" was basically the only dress code that my school ever had. The dumbest thing about it though was the reasoning behind it. It was put into effect after Columbine in 1999 because apparently different groups (jocks, nerds, goths, etc.) wore different headgear to differentiate themselves. I guess they were just trying to protect us.

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#5 No Back Cleavage

It wasn't the rule, but the wording. In grade nine, they made an announcement that you couldn't show your butt crack in the school. The admin decided to word that as "no back cleavage."



#6 No Winter Clothing

We couldn’t wear winter clothing in class (coats, gloves, hats, etc). Even with the heat on, it got cold in the winter inside the school so we just had to freeze. They said it was because winter clothing were gang symbols. This was a farm town in Wisconsin.


#7 No Water Bottles

No water bottles because a few girls snuck alcohol into the bathroom.

#8 No Colored Shoelaces

No colored shoelaces. Apparently it was a sign of gang affiliation. No toe shoes. It looked too much like you were wearing only socks. No eating outside the cafeteria. This was to reduce litter in the hallways but our school cafeteria could only fit 100ish people so everyone ignored it. They tried enforcing it by “guarding” the cafeteria doors so those buying lunch couldn’t leave but then people just stopped buying school lunch.


#9 No Indoor Recess

We weren't allowed to be indoors for more than five minutes at recess. This was in Canada and indoor recess started when it was below -25C. Instances of school-wide diarrhea really shot up during the winter.

#10 No Intermingling

I went to a Catholic school where there was a big white line painted across the schoolyard and during recess boys played on one side and girls on the other. We were not allowed to intermingle during recess even though we weren't separated during class or lunch. I'm a guy and all my friends were girls so we used to stand at the line and talk, go in trouble many times for that. Also in high school, post-Columbine, we weren't allowed to carry backpacks around the school. We had to leave them in our lockers and carry our heavy textbooks around.

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#11 Playmates

In third grade, we had to have "playmates." It basically meant that we couldn't play with our friends on the breaks or recess, we had to play in a group. That group was filled with students from other classes too, which was not fun.


#12 Zero Tolerance Policy

No mechanical pencils or any pens that click. Teachers found them annoying. No peeing outside the toilet or urinal. Common decency but if you're caught, you would get a call to your parents. The rule isn't stupid, its actually really good, but the people who its targetted at are. Zero tolerance policy. It's in nearly every school. I haven't had any encounters but it does strike people hard. Imagine getting beat up and getting punished for being beat up because you happened to be involved even though you did nothing. It's a terrible rule.


#13 No Flip Flops

Couldn't wear flip flops because they were considered dangerous but you could wear stiletto heels...

#14 Simpsons Merch

No Simpsons anything. This was when it premiered and there was this national scare that Bart was a bad influence. There were two popular Bart shirts that were banned. This eventually evolved into banning all Simpsons shirts, school supplies, stickers, etc. after some of the teachers started watching the show.



#15 Flag Down First

Buses were not allowed to depart at the end of the school day until the flag on the flagpole outside the main entrance had been taken down and properly put away. If someone forgot, all the buses would sit there idling for as long as it would take until the flag was dealt with.


#16 Only One Boy and One Girl

In second grade, only one boy and one girl were allowed to go to the bathroom at a time. I had to pee so bad that I was shaking and this kid took a stupid amount of time to get back. He finally came back and I had to wait in line at the teacher's desk until he finally said I could go. I peed myself on the way there.


#17 No Ball Kicking

In elementary school, we couldn't kick a ball at recess because the school was afraid we would kick the balls to the top of the building.


#18 Bathroom Wait Time

Needing to wait 10 minutes before and after classes to use the restroom. My adolescent body with developing Crohn’s Disease did NOT take kindly to this rule and I got into fights with the bathroom monitor often. Thankfully, the principal had a heart of gold and gave me a special pass to use his personal private bathroom which was so nice and clean. In a high school of 5,000 teenagers, being able to poop in peace at the rate you go with Crohn’s Disease made my life somewhat less terrible.


#19 No Stall Doors

The boys were not allowed to have doors on our stalls (we had a brick wall about 4 feet high between toilets with nothing in front). They said boys would ruin them.

#20 No Photographs

When I was in high school taking my second year of photography class, everyone was called into the auditorium for an assembly. It was to announce that cameras were no longer allowed to be used on campus due to privacy issues. This was about two weeks after the school had installed security cameras everywhere in the school.


#21 No Dr. Pepper

No one was allowed to have or say the word "Dr. Pepper" because it was the password to a shared Brazzers account the administration found out about.


#22 No Extreme Hair

Hair couldn’t be extreme, colored or past the earlobes for guys as it would be considered a distraction to others. I had long hair past my shoulders and would not cut it. I was in ISS a lot. It’s a silly thing to get detention for. Kids don’t go to school to be told how to dress and how they should look. I remember how much of an impact the breakfast club movie had on me in my junior high days.



#23 No Holding Hands With Girls

Girls were not supposed to hold hands or else they would turn lesbian.

#24 No Foreign Languages

Non-American here, We needed to pay a fine when we didn't speak English in school. In every class, the class leader used to note down the names of the students who would speak any other language (including their native language) instead of English. This rule went on for two years and then they finally removed it.


#25 No Gum Chewing

In middle school, we weren’t allowed to chew gum. I was caught and had to write a 2,000-word report on the history of pizza. I wrote that darn report and my teacher forgot and never asked for it.

#26 No Front Hugs

My middle school banned hugs. At least, they banned front hugs. The rule was against "chest to chest" contact, regardless of context or gender. No chest bumps after a game. No hugs or fontal contact at all. Several girls got in trouble for hugging their female friends goodbye after school. It was a very strange place.


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#27 No Talking or Laughing

At any point, you may not talk during lunch, and may not laugh at large stools in the bathroom.


#28 Correct Shade Only

Junior high was riddled with stupid rules. Most of them had to do with our general appearance. One time I got sent home because my pants weren't the correct shade of blue to match the ugly uniform. The principal had to drive me home so I could change pants! I wasted valuable hours of my school day and education just because of a color.

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#29 No Red, Blue or Purple

No solid red or blue, and towards the end of high school, no purple either. God forbid you wear more than one item with the same color.

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#30 Raising Your Hand

Raising your hand and asking to go to the bathroom is universally a dumb rule. I'll never forget going to college and hearing professors tell us for the first time that we didn't have to raise our hands, wait to be called on, and then ask if we could go to the bathroom—a basic bodily function, as adults. It was the first time I'd ever thought of it that way because I was so used to having to ask while in school and I didn't know of any other way.


#31 Raise Your Hand to Drink

You have to ask permission to have a drink. This rule got ignored when I was in year ten, but I still remember one teacher just screaming at me for taking a sip of water on a hot day.

#32 One-Way Hallway System

In middle school, I had a stupid as all heck "one-way hallway system" where students could only walk in the halls one direction. It made me late twice actually since my class was the first one behind the exit door, but I was forced to go in the entrance door. It was enforced even when the halls were empty. One stick in the mud teacher threatened to write me up if I questioned the rule.


#33 No Shrek

When I was in middle school that awful "Shrek is love, Shrek is Life" video came out and the student council wanted to have a Shrek spirit day because of it. So the school banned Shrek and anyone who talked about it got detention.

#34 Strict Recess

I was in the first grade. We only had one recess and it was in the late afternoon. We had to walk in a straight line to the playground, stand in the playground yard in a straight line quietly while the two teachers who pulled playground duty lead us through some basic exercises.

Here is the problem: We are FIRST GRADERS. It's late afternoon. And you HONESTLY expect us to stand there on a playground after an entire day of sitting in class at our desk doing work and listening to instructions and only having one break (lunch) and do basic exercises while standing on a playground?

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#35 No Bandanas

Bandanas and headbands were banned. The reason was that it increased gang violence, among 11 to 14 year olds, in the suburbs, of a small town, in Canada.

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#36 White Undershirts Only

Your undershirt had to be white. We had a dress code at my school where you had to wear a collared shirt. They didn't really care about the color or the design much except you couldn't have really big words or designs on them. One day I actually got written up because I had on a black shirt underneath my polo.


#37 No Tank Tops

Girls couldn't wear tank tops because showing armpits wasn't allowed but guys could wear tanks. Made no sense. No chains on wallets back in the day when chain wallets were the thing so dudes replaced their chains with pearl necklaces as an F-U to admin. No black lipstick allowed. This was a small farm town of like 700. Total overreaction. Also, most high schools allow you to attend a shorter day if you've met your graduation credits but we had to sit all day and sometimes that meant having two to three study halls even if we had already met requirements. Such a waste of time.


#38 No Red

I couldn't wear red to school. So stupid.

#39 No Drinks Whatsoever

Halfway through eighth grade, they decided to ban all beverages including water from use. A couple of kids brought alcohol in a water bottle to school and they decided the best option was no liquids at all. We couldn't even bring drinks in sealed bottles or unopened cans because they could have been tampered with.


#40 No Touching

We could not touch each other. All physical contact was banned. There was one teacher that claimed if it wasn't for this rule, we would all be running around being inappropriate with each other. Ah, yes, truly the time of my life.


#41 No Ankle Socks

At my grade school, we weren’t allowed to wear ankle socks. You would get detention if you did.

#42 No Joe's Crab Shack Shirts

No one could wear Joe's Crab Shack shirts. At first, it was just the tie-dye ones that said, "Peace, Love & Crabs" but then they expanded to any Joe's Crab Shack shirts. It was because of the implication of inappropriate themes I suppose? It was a stretch. My friend had to wear a PE shirt all day because her shirt was a Joe's Crab Shack shirt. It didn't have an "offensive" slogan on it. It just had a picture of a crab and the restaurant's name. She still had to change shirts. She was so embarrassed because no one wants to wear a PE shirt all day.


#43 No Erasers

In primary school, we weren’t allowed to use erasers. We were never told why.

#44 School-Mandated Haircuts Only

School-mandated haircuts.


#45 Bathroom Safety Vests

Clear or mesh backpacks only. This was from first grade through high school in the late 90s to early 2000s. We also had to wear a safety vest as our bathroom pass in high school. It was such a joke that the first year the rule was introduced our yearbooks were a giant safety vest on the outside. Honestly, the thought of a shared unisex safety vest for bathroom visits still grosses me out as I know those things were never washed properly.




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