It’s September, and that means that kids are heading back to school. They may not be happy about it, but it could be worse—they could be going to one of these schools, where danger, physical damage, and even death stalk the classrooms. Here are 10 schools where you have an equal chance of graduating as dying.
The point of Battle School was to train the best children it could find into military commanders. We’re talking about a program identifying the most intelligent children in the world as infants, tracking the kids’ progress, and then taking them from their families and putting them into a military academy between the ages of six and eight. And a school full of hyper-intelligent young kids competing against each other in faux-deadly war games is a recipe for disaster. Of course, the real danger comes to these kids when they hit 14 years old and graduate, at which point their war becomes real.
Look, this one’s a no-brainer. If a school system randomly picks a class of kids, dumps them on an island, and then literally requires them to fight to death for the entertainment of the nation of Japan, that’s a bad school. It’s only ranked so low because it’s so clearly meant to be bad. That’s less true of the rest of these schools.
Similarly, the Assassins’ Guild is also meant to be disconcerting; aschool explicitly founded to teach assassins cannot be a safe place to spend a lot of time. Given that it’s Discworld, there’s a bit more to it, of course. The Assassins’ Guild actually operates the best school in all of Ankh-Morpork and it’s where the rich and upper class send their children for a classical education. Of course, there’s also a number of scholarship students who get in for the “uncommon ability” in the area of killing—I’m sorry, the Guild prefers the term “inhume”—but being a scholarship kid is the least safe way to attend a school of assassins, as for some reason their number decreases over the year. And it’s unlikely that it’s just that they’re choosing to leave.
Angel Grove High School stands for all the high schools that show up in the various iterations of Power Rangers. What happens when you recruit a team of teenagers with attitude is that you’re usually recruiting high school students,and these students attend high school. So whenever Rita Repulsa or Lord Zedd or whatever galactic villain sends their monsters to Earth to kill these attitude-laden teenagers, they send them to that high school. Giant monsters interrupting class had to be a weekly occurrence for the kids of Angel Grove. The school should have given up on math and history and taught advanced classes is “dodging falling rubble” and “running from a giant monster/Megazord fight.”
Both iterations of this school have been as a place for the children of villains to train as assassins, spies, and femme fatales (usually in Batman comics). The first time, it was training girls for the general evil organization Leviathan and the initiation ceremony of this school for teenaged girls involved tying ropes around new students’ necks and feeding them a brainwashing agent. Sounds great and absolutely not a nightmare. The next time the school popped up it was doing the same kind of training for Spyral, the generally less-evil covert group.
Isn’t this just the most creative possible name for a school of magic? Magic School popped up right around the time the show really started running out of ideas. It was supposedly established after untrained magic users destroyed Atlantis by mistake. In all honesty, I’d take my chances with the random outbursts over a school which was run, for thousands of years, by someone who turned out to be evil. And then Paige, not trained as a teacher at all, takes over for a year before taking off. And the school’s protection against evil and death—which apparently didn’t help with Gideon, but whatever—is destroyed and the students and teachers flee as the school becomes a demon HQ. And when two witches betray the Charmed Ones, they too end up at Magic School. It’s basically a giant evil magnet.
These poor kids. These poor kids stuck going to school over a Hellmouth. Not just the town, but the school literally had a seal that opened into the plane where demons live in the basement. The library was stocked with books about demons. The quad was once a hunting ground for werewolves. An assassin tried to kill Buffy in the lounge. A body was found in the cafeteria. Basically, every spot on campus was the place where someone died, was cursed, or was cursed and died. Buffy’s class may have had the lowest mortality rate of any previous graduating class—but look, this is a school which has a double-digit mortality rate because of demonic forces.
I can’t think of a single medium—comics, cartoons, movies—where this X-Men school doesn’t explode on a shockingly regular basis. Or get attacked, or infiltrated, or taken over, or just generally fail to provide a stable home for its inhabitants. Unless one of my mutant powers involved the ability to escape quickly or invulnerability, I would not feel safe here.
Albus Dumbledore is a nightmare of a headmaster. He keeps hiring professors who are either evil or incompetent. He hides something he knows a dark wizard is searching for in the school with a giant three-headed dog as a guard. HIDE IT SOMEWHERE ELSE. And he just generally floats in and out of the students’ lives, giving pithy advice right after they’ve almost died. Beyond Dumbledore, the school itself is horrific: The stairways move without warning. A Poltergeist wanders around torturing kids. A giant tree likes to smack the kids around. FILCH. It’s bad enough for the kids who have family to warn them ahead of time before they attend. The poor Muggleborn are in even more danger.
It was neck and neck between the Old Republic’s Jedi Temple and Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Academy for this top spot. But Luke’s wins because it has the distinction of being a danger to its students in two different versions of canon. In the old Expanded Universe, Luke built his school where the ghost of a Sith Lord was able to put him in a coma and turn a couple of his students. The guy who founds the Shadow Academy to train people in the Dark Side of the Force learned from Luke there. Lightsabers routinely malfunction. Turning to the Dark Side, killing a lot of people, and then turning back appears to be a graduation requirement.
Of course, the Expanded Universe was wiped from canon, only for us to learn in The Force Awakens that Luke’s students in his new canonical Jedi school were slaughtered en masse by—you guessed it!—another student gone bad. Luke should never teach anyone ever.