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A school where not only do you learn mathematics, but how to shoot a rifle.

Military schools are institutions which aim to instill military-style discipline in students. Often the explicit goal of such schools is to prepare students for military careers. The military school is intended for minors, as opposed to the Military Academy which trains at the undergraduate university level.

The idea of the military school is rapidly becoming a dead horse trope. Military schools were more common in ages where service was a family tradition, especially among aristocrats. They were (and are) also very common in dictatorships where the school seeks to instill loyalty to the regime (such as the Hitler Youth or the Young Baath Party). In modern America, strict discipline is viewed as borderline child abuse and most such institutions have closed.

In fiction, a rebellious teen may be threatened with one, making it a variation on the Boarding School of Horrors theme. It is also a common basis for a Boot Camp Episode or Off to Boarding School.

Sometimes includes an element of Ho Yay, due to the fact that military schools in fiction and reality tend to either be all-male or mostly male.

Examples of Military School include:


  • Angel Beats - While strictly not exactly an military school, due to the size of SSS, one of the biggest organizations within students, all students attending there have a high chance of learning how to use firearms.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha - The Time-Space Administration Bureau Military Academies.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima - The Magic Knight Cadet Classes of Ariadne which Yue Ayase joins when she was trapped with amnesia in Mundus Magicus.
  • Naruto - The Ninja Acadamy, where prepubescent kids learn to throw kunai (also part Wizarding School, since they also teach he Doppelganger Spin and Fire Breathng). They only teach the basics of becoming a ninja, Sasuke learned his fire style jutsu from his father.



 Col. Oates: Drop and give me...infinity.


Bill: Dude, there's no way I can do infinity push-ups.

Ted: Maybe he'll let us do 'em girly-style?

  • Childs Play III. In the first movie, the main character's living with his parents who die, so in the second he's living with his foster parents who die, so in the third he gets Darrined and sent to military school where people die.
  • Taps - a Military School is to be closed down and razed. The outraged students refuse to allow it and end up in a confrontation with the authorities.
  • Up the Academy - a comedic take.
  • The Lords of Discipline - a group of senior cadets try to force freshman cadets they disapprove of to leave their Military School, including the first black cadet who was enrolled. (In fact, "Carolina Military Institute" is an obvious stand-in for The Citadel, The Military COLLEGE of South Carolina.)
    • Lords of Discipline is about more than just the Citadel. Its a fictional college that is a mash-up of Citadel, VMI, and West Point, though the author did go to the Citadel.
  • Cadet Kelly
  • Damien: Omen II. All the better to help the Antichrist take over the world.
  • Evilspeak is set in a military school, where one student is bullied too far and he retaliates with satanic power.
  • In Dead Poets Society, this is what Neil, one of the members of the title group of youths, is threatened with by his Fantasy-Forbidding Father when he learns that he is playing Puck in their production of A Midsummer Night's Dream instead of focusing his energies on being the doctor he wants him to be. The prospect of being sent someplace he does not want to go and being given no real choice in life breaks poor Neil, and he is Driven to Suicide.


Live Action TV

  • In the first few seasons of Malcolm in the Middle, eldest brother Francis attends one of these.
  • An episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch parodied this, combining it with a Cinderella story. "You forgot your... boot?"
  • The Sopranos episode "Army of One". Tony Soprano and his wife Carmela disagree over whether to send their son A.J. to a Military School.
  • Dead Like Me. - A military school features as the site of a reap. Inverted in that the soon-to-be-dead cadet loves the school and constantly pushes herself to excel. She dies on the obstacle course, where a safety rope breaks just as she makes it to the top of the tower climb.
  • Arthur Carlson from WKRP in Cincinnati had a son going to one of these, 'Prussian Valley'. He learns that his son's flunking out, but lets him hold onto his The "B" Grade excuse for leaving, and enrolls him in public school.
  • Another more positive portrayal is in the The Sarah Connor Chronicles episode "Goodbye To All That".
  • A Chekhov's Gun in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid novel The Last Straw — a rather annoying Delinquent is sent to one of these after his parents get fed up with him early in the book, as shown by a chapter. It works, as we see him in his summer job as a movie usher, and by the looks of things, he's pretty much the platonic ideal of a good cadet. This is what causes Frank to seriously consider sending his son to it as a way of ridding his status as The Chew Toy. Greg is not amused.

Video Games

  • Attacking the tortoises in Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc sometimes provokes them to respond with the remark, "Your parents should have put you in military school!"
  • In the first The Sims game, students who constantly get bad grades go to military school for the rest of their lives. In the second (or, the second after the huge amount of expansion packs), you can thankfully get lost children back, albeit they must be adopted by someone else...
  • Valkyria Chronicles - As part of a national universal conscription program, every school in Gallia is effectively one of these.
    • But the real military school is Lanseal, the center of the second game. It's a mix between school and academy, in that it also accepts people well beyond their highschool years.
  • In The Adventures of Willy Beamish, if you get into too much trouble with your parents, you get a Game Over and are sent off to military school.

Western Animation

  • One episode of The Simpsons has Bart get forced into one of these. Lisa ends up joining as well because she liked the rigid structure and the fact that it was actually teaching stuff.
  • Parodied in The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, where a Zany Scheme to get Billy into a prestigious school ends with him realizing the school that he just succeeded in getting into was actually Military School. The last shot of the cartoon is of him standing in front of a firing line.
  • The Exofleet Academy in Exo Squad. Although it doesn't appear in the series itself, it plays an important role in e.g. Coleen O'Reilly's Backstory (the Neosapien War began on the day of her graduation from the Academy and she was one of the few cadets to have survived the onslaught).
  • King of the Hill: Bobby attended a military school for one episode.
  • Daria: Being shipped off to one by his father was a defining element of Jake Morgendorffer's character.
  • The Smile Away Reformatory from "Phineas and Ferb Get Busted" is a cruel and rather unsettling version.

Real Life

  • A few still exist in the U.S. The Valley Forge Military Academy, for instance. Culver Military Academy, Indiana military high school and last bastion of equestrian cavalry in the United States Army. Also sports the largest riding arena in the nation.
  • "Boot camps" for wayward youth are something of a cruel parody of the concept, giving kids with problems (sometimes not even all that severe) a treatment that's actually worse than any qualified military DI would deal out. It's not uncommon for such camps to be shut down when word gets out, only to reopen somewhere else under a different name in a looser jurisdiction.