SparkNotes Blog

17 High School Urban Legends We Want to Believe

There is a world underneath the world of education. Messages embedded in the static of the morning announcements, treasures hiding in the chalkboard dust, and a secret set of rules known only to a few. You may have heard of some of these classroom legends, but others are known only to those on the fringes. Welcome to the Dark Side.

1. If a teacher is more than fifteen minutes late to class, everyone is allowed to leave.

2. If a teacher is more than fifteen minutes late to two successive classes, everyone is allowed to write the remainder of the semester’s assignments in emojis.

3. All notes confiscated by teachers become the intellectual property of the school under United States copyright law. (This is what happened with Catcher In The Rye.)

4. If a teacher’s bonus test questions are deemed insufficiently difficult, they will be fired (or forced to coach volleyball).

5. EVERYTHING is on your permanent record. Even the thoughts so shameful you would deny having had them. It’s all there.

6. The chicken nuggets are made out of every student who ever asked what the chicken nuggets are made out of.

7. If you fill in test bubbles with a number three pencil, your answer sheet will be flagged by the NSA.

8. Under every set of gym bleachers is a tunnel. It is a subject of ongoing debate whether it leads to hell or Hogwarts.

9. All students with perfect attendance get an ice cream party, but the ice cream is fat free and they have to eat EVERY BITE.

10. Algebra does not exist.

11. All band teachers have secret P.O. boxes where they receive envelopes stuffed with cash from flute manufacturers.

13. A small but significant portion of vice principals are graduates of a failed 1980s government program that offered convicted felons the choice of prison or the educational system.

14. It is widely acknowledged among educators that there is no information of value in the second grade curriculum.

15. When enough baking soda volcanoes have been turned in as science projects, it will trigger the eruption of an actual supervolcano, which will end all life on planet Earth. No one knows what the number is, but we are believed to be getting close.

16. Teacher workdays are—never mind; it’s better you don’t know.

17. If a teacher is more than fifteen minutes late three times in a semester, the school must shut down. It belongs to the crows now.