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A school prank is any of several common pranks primarily occurring in an educational setting.

The effect and intent of school pranks may range from everyday play and consensual bonding behavior to hazing, bullying or assault, including sexual assault.

Common pranksEdit


Debagging, also known as depantsing or "pantsing" and various other names is the act of pulling down a person's pants and sometimes also the person's underwear. The most common method is to sneak up behind the intended victim, grab the pants', shorts', or skirt's waistband, and apply a quick downward tug before the victim is aware of the debagger's presence.[1]

Circle gameEdit

The central theme in the Malcolm in the Middle "Dinner Out" TV episode is the circle game, where by a person gets someone else to look at their hand while forming a circle below the waist. If they look, the prankster gets to hit them.[2]

The Circle Hand Game can be traced back to 1929 when the brothers of the City College of New York's Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity were searching for a new way to haze pledges without technically breaking CCNY's anti-hazing rules.[3]

Flat tire or flat footEdit

The heel of the victim is trodden upon, which may cause the victim to stumble. Stepping on the rear portion of the shoe as the foot lifts and thereby removing it is also a "heels" variant known as a "flat tire". A variant is to kick their heel forwards as it lifts.[1]

Hertz doughnutEdit

This prank fools the victim into giving their permission to get punched. The prankster approaches the chosen target with a closed doughnut or pastry box and asks "Would you like a hertz doughnut?" If the target says yes, the prankster then punches the target in the arm and asks "Hurts, don't it?" (pronounced "doughnut"). This prank was used in the Family Guy episode,"Tales of a Third Grade Nothing".[1]

Indian or Chinese burnEdit

Known primarily as an "Indian burn" in the United States or "Chinese burn" in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, "buffalo skin" in India, "snake bite" or "Indian rub" in Canada, an "Indian sunburn" or "Indian rug burn" in the United States, "policeman's glove" or "hundred needles" in Hungary, "barbed wire" in the Netherlands, "needles" in Bulgaria and "Brennessel" ("stinging nettle") in the southern parts of Germany, "thousand needle stings" in the northern parts of Germany, "thousand needles" in Sweden, "Nettle" in Poland, this is a prank done by grasping the victim's forearm firmly in both hands, and then twisting the hands in opposite directions about the victim's arm, causing the tender skin to stretch making it red and sore.[1]


Kancho is a prank often played out in Japan;[4] it is performed by clasping the hands together so the index fingers are pointing out and attempting to insert them sharply into someone's anal region when the victim is not looking.[5] It is similar to the wedgie or a goosing, although goosing acts do not involve direct intimate physical contact. A kancho is often executed simultaneously as the offending party expresses loudly "Kan-CHO!"

"Kick me"Edit

A note (commonly reading "Kick me") is attached to the back of an unsuspecting victim. This prank may be performed with Post-it notes or other objects like paper and tape.[1]


"Mooning" is displaying one's bared buttocks to someone, so-called because the buttocks are generally not suntanned, so resembles a full moon. It is commonly performed out of windows of moving buses and cars. There are rare cases when the person is in a room and the lights are off, but once the lights are turned on, the offender's buttocks are visible, hence the name "full moon". There are cases where the pants are pulled down in the front to show the frontal areas.

Nipple crippleEdit

Also known as a "nipple twist", "ruby booby", "tweak", "nipple gripple", "titty twister", or a "(purple) nurple", "purple herbie" or "diddy nip". It is the act of taking a person's nipple between the thumb and forefinger and then twisting it around, often causing extreme pain for the victim. On August 8, 2005, a 15-year-old living in Gold Hill, Oregon, was charged with a misdemeanor for perpetrating this act on a 13-year-old boy. The 15-year-old was fined $67 and given three days of community service.[1]


Sometimes called a Monkey Scrub, Hippo Handing or Russian Haircut, a noogie is performed when the middle knuckles of the fore and middle fingers are rubbed vigorously against the surface of the scalp, stretching the skin and pulling the hair. A headlock may be applied for more exact or prolonged execution. This will trap the victim. An open-hand variant known as the Dutch Rub is performed with the heel of the hand.[1]


This prank involves the tying of a victim's shoe laces together, typically while the victim is seated and distracted. The laces may also be tied to a nearby object such as a chair leg. This may cause the victim to unexpectedly trip or stumble when attempting to get up and move. This prank may be combined with a taunt or additional prank designed to provoke the victim into getting up and running after the prankster, resulting in a more pronounced effect. A related but more destructive prank involves secretly cutting the shoelaces with scissors.[1]

Short sheetingEdit

A prank done at boarding schools, camps or on excursions where children sleep in full beds (also common in the military). A bed sheet is untucked at the foot end of the bed and folded toward the head, making it look as if it is two sheets (an undersheet and top sheet). The victim will find that he or she cannot get into bed (as doing this "shortens" the bed length). Known as an 'apple-pie bed' in the UK.[1]

In a variant of the 'apple-pie bed', described in "The Reverent Wooing of Archibald," a story by P.G. Wodehouse, the upper and lower sheets are sewn together and a spiny plant inserted in between to keep company with the victim as he slips himself in between.


A "spitball" is a clump of paper that the prankster has chewed and steeped in his or her saliva, to be thrown, spit, or blown at a person or object. If not removed from some types of surface, they dry and harden into a sort of paper cement. These dried spitballs can often be seen on the ceilings of schools. Small spitballs are often propelled by placing them in a straw or the shaft of a disassembled hollow pen and blowing through the other end. Larger spitballs are sometimes flicked with the fingers, a flexible ruler or through the use of a rubber band. Sometimes, whole sheets of paper are crumpled and inserted into the mouth for a period of up to five minutes to form a large spitball that is usually thrown manually.[1]


The act of holding the victim upside down with his or her head in the toilet bowl, and flushing. Typically perpetrated by two or more older, larger individuals, this type of bullying can be dangerous as it can result in the drowning of the victim. Instances of swirling have been prosecuted in courts.[6] More commonly known as bogwashing in the U.K. and New Zealand, or dunnyflushing in Australia.[citation needed]

Towel snapEdit

Also known as a "Towel Whip," "Towel Whipping," a "Rat-Tail," or "Rat-Tailing," the prankster twists a towel along the diagonal (typically dampened to hold its shape), making it into a whip with a towel corner at the tip. The prankster then "snaps" the towel as if cracking a whip, striking the victim with the tip of the towel and causing pain. This prank is usually performed in communal showers, where wet towels are plentiful and bare skin provides opportunity to maximize the pain inflicted.[1]


A wedgie (sometimes also known as a "gotchie" in Canada) is any one of a variety of pranks involving pulling the victim's underwear up so that it wedges between the buttocks and may even be performed to the extent that the victim's underpants are torn off. A wedgie may be performed by one attacker, or by a group. On April 6, 2006, Fox News reported on an Albany, New York teacher who was arrested for endangering the welfare of a child for giving a 10-year-old student a wedgie.[1][7]

In 2007, eight-year-old second graders Jared and Justin Serovich came up with "wedgie-proof" underwear at the Central Ohio Invention Competition 2007 where their invention got them into the finals.[8]

Wet willyEdit

Usually performed on a sleeping or otherwise unsuspecting person, the perpetrator of a wet willy wets his or her finger with saliva and inserts it into the ear of the victim.

See alsoEdit


Further readingEdit

  • Steinberg, Neil (1992). If at all possible, involve a cow : the book of college pranks. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-07810-2.