15 Principal Horror Stories That Will Make You Grateful for Your Admins

She was knocking the books off the shelf every morning …

Do you have an amazing principal? We’re so happy for you (and jealous). Do you have a so-so principal? Keep reading because you’re about to love them a whole lot more. Do you have a bad principal? Well, maybe you won’t think they’re so bad after you read these principal horror stories.

Thanks to all our amazing teacher friends for sharing these stories—we kept everyone anonymous so you can keep your jobs. Though if any of these do sound familiar, maybe it’s time to look for another gig.


1. The “Are You Really Sick?” Principal

“I had a principal who would call me on my home phone ever time I called in sick. She wanted to see if I was faking. She would then ask me if I was sure it was me who was sick and not my child.”


2. The Look the Other Way Principal


“I was teaching in a school where a third grade student told me he was going to kill me. He told me that his grandpa had a gun cabinet, and he knew where he kept the key. When I told my principal about it, he said that HE wanted to kill me. He said I hadn’t built a good relationship with the student—it was my fault. He said I should invite the student to school on a Saturday to play games.”


3. The “You’ve Got No Chance” Principal

“I had a friend who was interning at one school, but then she had to go to another for assignment. While she was there with her mom decorating her new classroom, the principal came in and told her she didn’t want her there. She said she was going to make it a priority to get her out! This was her first job and in front of her mother! Luckily, the first school where she interned got her back before too long.”


4. The Belittling Principal

“It was my first year of teaching, and I came into school to work on a Sunday evening. I had a lot of essays to grade and couldn’t take work home. I signed in on the whiteboard just like we’re supposed to do when we work after hours, and then I lost track of the time. Before I knew it, it was 11 o’clock at night, the security officer (who I parked NEXT to) was gone, and I was locked on campus. I had to call the police, and it took my principal two hours to get there—she lived five minutes away. When she arrived, she told me to ‘get a life’ and ‘stop working nights.’ Then she even brought it up in front of the entire staff. I was mortified and left a few months later.”


5. The Wardrobe Police Principal

“I was teaching middle school, and my principal pulled me aside to talk about how I dressed. She told me that my knee-length dresses were ‘inappropriate,’ and they were making the men on my team uncomfortable. She said they weren’t flattering either, and that I should wear something else to work.”


6. The Totally Inappropriate Principal

“My first year at my last school, my principal made a joke that I was a hooker. He said every man in my town knew where I lived. Then he questioned whether I really had a kidney infection that I’d talked about. He suggested maybe I was pregnant or had a STD. This was in front of other staff members.”


7. The “I Don’t Have Your Back” Principal

“I had a couple of parents bullying me about grades. Kids weren’t turning in assignments, so this brought down their report card grade. The parents wrote me nasty emails, and I forwarded them to my principal. Then the next day, I went in to talk to her. She said, ‘I wish there was something I could do,’ and left it at that. Later in the day, she came to me and asked me to change the grades of these two students in question. I ended up resigning from this position.”


8. The Downright Odd Principal

“One of my co-workers used to be the librarian at another school, and she said her principal was biased toward certain groups of people. Every morning when she came into the library, there were books laying all over the floor that had been clean the afternoon before. The principal wrote her up several times for leaving the library messy. She wanted to figure out what was happening so she came in extra early one morning and caught the principal knocking books off the shelves and onto the floor. That was her last year as the librarian at that school.”


9. The Narcissist Principal

“I once had a principal (many, many, years ago) who loved to sing. One year she decided to sing Christmas songs during the end of day announcements. It started with one on the first day, and it grew during the week. By the end of the week, she was singing like seven carols. Buses were backed up, parents were complaining about kids being late, and there were other problems, but it didn’t matter. She had her mic and her captive audience. She was going to sing.”


10. The Insensitive Principal

“I had an administrator say to me that since I was unmarried, a new teacher, and didn’t have kids that I should expect to carry the majority of weight for my department. She said I had ‘more time to commit’ than everybody else with a partner, family, or other commitments.”


11. The “Shouldn’t Be a Principal” Principal

“It was my third year of teaching. I had a principal who moved all of the library books to the side walls so we could build walls around the shelves. We created little rooms to put disruptive students.”


12. The Harassing Principal

“In our system principals get a bonus for each person they get to retire. My principal started harassing a woman that was my mentor and had taught for more than 20 years. She would say things like: ‘Why are you still here? The kids don’t like you. Aren’t you tired? You’re old and need to go.’ The principal would chastise this teacher in front of students. This principal was downright awful. I have so many more stories about her.”


13. The Oh-So-Demanding Principal

“The second week of school, I was written up for not having lesson plans. My 4-year-old daughter had been taken to the emergency room and was in the hospital for a collapsed lung—she almost died. I went back to work on Friday, and the principal decided to come and observe me on that first day back. When I told her my co-teacher had the lesson plan, she said I should have a copy. She also told me I should’ve made lesson plans because other teachers did that when they had a ‘sick kid.'”


14. The “I Make My Own Rules” Principal

“My principal had a rule that kids who didn’t wear costumes on Halloween had to sit in the cafeteria while the costumed kids had a walk through the school. This was a school with lots of poverty and refugees. When I questioned it, she justified it because she said it helped her plan the march with a head count.”


15. The “Every Man for Himself” Principal

“My second year of teaching, the principal called me into his office and told me I wasn’t going to get a contract for the next year. It seemed odd, so I made an appointment to meet with one of the assistant superintendents the next day. She told me that the principal made the recommendation not to rehire me because I’d had several bad observations. I let her know that this man hadn’t observed me in the two years I’d been there, and guess who else didn’t get a contract that year? What goes around comes around!”