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April Fool's Day School Pranks
School Quarantined. (1901)
Pranksters placed a yellow quarantine sign outside the Central school building in Waterloo, Iowa: The quarantine signal was placed in the most conspicuous place on the building. The lads who are responsible for the misdemeanor probably thought it would be a great joke and possibly be the means of permitting them to a holiday... The teachers and high school scholars entered the building at the main entrance, but did not go into the room just back of the sign until assured that there was no danger. It was only a short time until the news that the west side Central building was quarantined spread pretty well over the town and Mr. Hukill and Mrs. Couch, who use the high school room, were kept More…
Help Wanted. (1915)
An ad placed in a Chicago paper brought over 300 job seekers to Proviso Township High School in Maywood, Illinois. The ad read, "WANTED—100 Laborers; bring shovels; good pay. Apply High School, Room 9, 1st av. and Madison st., Maywood, bet. 9 and 10 am." Some of the job seekers walked over twenty miles to get there, not having access to a car. School officials had to turn them away, explaining that the ad was a joke, but not of their doing. Seventy-five of the men ended up sleeping in the school yard. Eight members of the senior class were subsequently accused of having placed the ad and were punished "by denying them certain privileges." Their parents protested the punishment, but More…
Spring Recess Cancelled. (1938)
The student body of Cornell University was thrown into turmoil when the Cornell Daily Sun announced on its front page that school officials had decided to cancel spring recess. The reason given was that "a sub-committee appointed at the last meeting of the faculty to investigate student marks at the end of the first six weeks discovered that marks were so far below the required standard that they felt some immediate drastic action was necessary." The local railroad reported receiving frantic calls from students trying to get refunds on tickets they had already purchased to travel home. More…
School for girls up for sale. (1959)
An advertisement ran in the London Financial Times offering the highly respectable Francis Holland School for Girls for sale. Several dozen interested buyers phoned the school. A school spokesman later explained that the advertisement was a joke placed by a student "who'd got into trouble, trying to get back at the school." [Journal-Tribune, Apr 2, 1959.] More…
City School Pranks. (1960)
"School children, more than anyone else, live for the chance to 'get back at the teacher.' Most teachers went to school this morning alert for tacks on chairs, glue on desks and gently placed placards ordering to 'kick me' invitation. Probably a few instructors in the city schools forgot to check the calendar this morning and fell victim to at least one of the pranks of the class. The only consolation the teacher has it that for once, she did what the class wanted her to do." -Allen Sackmann, [Lethbridge Herald - Apr 1, 1960] More…
Calendar Prank. (1960)
Evelyn Wilson, 14, shows off an April calendar that appears to be nailed to a truck tire. The nail is a fake one, designed for such foolishness. Evelyn was a student at Crockett Junior High School. [Odessa American - Apr 1, 1960] More…

Broken Arms. (1966)
When Mrs. Rhoda Bell, a teacher at the Wilder Elementary School in Louisville, Ky., walked into her sixth-grade classroom, she discovered that all her students had broken their arms. More…
Musical Spoof. (1966)
At the University of Chicago, a cast of 40 took part in a "musical spoof" featuring the sounds of the 72-bell carillon atop the Rockefeller Chapel. The musicians, who stood in the huge gutter along the chapel's roof, were accompanied by the cymbaling of Mrs. Loraine Percy of Kenilworth, wife of GOP Senate candidate Charles Percy. The climax of the performance was John Philip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever." More…
Floof Day. (1968)
Students at North Carolina's Kings Mountain High School continued their tradition of celebrating "Floof Day" on April 1st: "On this day, both students and faculty members dress in such a wild and different manner that it doesn't even come close to everyday school attire... On this particular morning, one might see Merlin the Magician, a skin diver, or even Julius Caesar making his way toward the high school... Girls in Bermudas, Shirley Temple get-ups, and boys as farmers, ministers, and hippies mingle with the rest of the students to discuss which teacher has the most 'way-out' outfit." The photo shows students Reid Horton and Morris Patton posing in the outfits they planned to wear. More…
Engulfed by Paper. (1970)
"After [history teacher Gerald Miller] left the school Tuesday, his students crumpled up hundreds of newspapers and other pieces of paper and packed them into Miller's room from floor to ceiling. The students then hung a large sheet of paper inside the door to hide the pile of paper. When Miller opened the door to the room this morning and broke the paper shield, he was engulfed by the crumpled paper." [Madison Capital Times - Apr 1, 1970] More…
School For Sale. (1985)
The students of Newtonbrook Secondary School in Canada placed an ad in a local newspaper putting their school up for sale. The ad read: "For Sale—106-room mansion, 5 1/2 acres of well-kept grounds in the heart of Willowdale. $1 million." According to the principal, Richard Frise, the school's secretaries answered a number of calls from interested buyers before they realized what had happened. More…
MITkey Mouse. (1998)
The homepage of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology displayed some startling news: the prestigious university was to be sold to the Walt Disney Co. for $6.9 billion. A photograph of the university's famous dome outfitted with a pair of mouse ears accompanied the news. A press release explained that the university was to be dismantled and transported to Orlando where new schools would be added to the campus including the School of Imagineering, the Scrooge McDuck School of Management, and the Donald Duck Department of Linguistics. The fact that the announcement appeared on MIT's homepage lent credibility to it. But in reality, the announcement was the work of students who had hacked More…
Speakerphone Pregnancy Call Prank. (2014)
Stephen Barrows, professor of economics at Aquinas College, had a classroom rule that if your cellphone rang during class, you had to answer it on speakerphone. His students took advantage of this rule to prank him by having a female student receive a call from a "pregnancy resource center" informing her that she's pregnant. The professor's discomfort visibly increases as the call proceeds. More…
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.