EurekAlert / Cafe Mom

School | Life | 80s

12 Normal Things 80s Kids Did At School That Just Aren't Allowed Anymore

EurekAlert / Cafe Mom

Times sure have changed from the 80's. It seems as though everything has become dependent on technology and there's been a crazy increase in helicopter parenting.

So what's changed in the school world? Can it really be that different? The answer is yes.

Things have definitely gotten a little more strict and little less fun-loving since we were in grade school. And who knows? Maybe it's justified. But honestly it just seems like today's kids are missing out!

Here are some totally normal things we'd do at school in the 80's but would not fly today.

1. Actually Choosing a Valentine

Today, most schools banned 'choosing Valentines' in class because it can cause isolation among children. Schools that do still allow for the fun cards require every student in the class to get one.

Well then how is Jimmy supposed to know I want to date just HIM!?

20th Century Fox

2. Gender-Specific Classes

It used to be boys in shop class, girls in home economics. And don't get me wrong, I don't think schools should automatically assign courses based on gender.

But most schools don't even offer these classes anymore! How are kids supposed to learn basic life skills?


3. Clapping the Erasers

It was often used as a punishment, "If you don't stop that you'll have to stay and clap the erasers!" IE you'll have to stay and suffocate in a cloud of chalk.

Today, most classrooms have whiteboards or projectors instead of chalkboards. So kids today will never know the pain of having to hold your breath while being doused with chalk dust.

Universal Pictures

4. Playing Dodgeball

Did you know schools hardly play this anymore because it's too "violent?" Yes, seriously.

Dodgeball is how you weed out the weak. You never really enjoyed it, but the anticipation of seeing who would get whipped in the head was always worth it.

20th Century Fox

5. Making Ashtrays in Art Class

They were a classic gift made for any Mother's or Father's day. And seeing as almost everyone had a family member that smoked in the 80s, it made sense.

But if schools today had kids making ashtrays, more than one member of the PTA would be in that principal's office fighting for their resignation.

6. Getting Picked Up By Someone Who Is Not Your Parent

"Hey mom, Chelsea's parents are just gonna take me to their place for dinner, okay?" <-- not an uncommon phrase in the 80s. You were picked up by whoever was available.

Now, if you aren't on a specific sign-out list pre-approved by the parents, there is no way you're taking a kid home. Which honestly is probably for the best. STRANGER DANGER IS A THING!

20th Century Fox

7. Teenagers Driving School Buses

Yes, this was a thing in some states. 16 and 17-year-olds were just out there driving school buses as though that wasn't a terrible idea.

This ended in 1988 after a kid died while crossing the street, and frankly I feel much safer on the road now.

Paramount Pictures

8. Bring Cupcakes For Your Own Birthday

Baked goods are kind of a no-go in today's schools. With food allergies, obesity rates, and all around health concerns, bringing cupcakes for your birthday rarely happens anymore.

If you're lucky, the class will sing to you and you might get a celebratory fruit platter. But if you're expecting anything chocolate you'll have to wait till you're at home.

TriStar Pictures

9. Buying Junk Food From Vending Machines

If you're looking for Dr. Pepper and a Snickers bar, go somewhere else my friend.

While the 80s may have provided you with access to the sugary treats, kids today have the option of healthier snacks and beverages in their school vending machines.


10. Huffing Glue For Fun

Sometimes school got boring, okay?! Most school supplies in the 80s contained toxic chemicals, so when you got bored you just started huffing your glue.

School supplies today are almost exclusively non-toxic.


11. Writing Lines On the Chalk Board

It's truly a blessing kids today don't have to do this. Writing lines was awful. Writing "I will not spit my gum in teacher's hair" 500 times is A LOT OF TIMES!

Now kids don't even really get "punished." Their "negative energy gets redirected into a different activity." Alright, well good luck with that.

20th Century Fox

12. Bring a PB+J for Lunch

This was a classic lunch time treat. But now with every other kid being allergic to nuts, anything peanut butter cannot come to school.

Some schools even go so far as to tell parents they can't have peanut butter in the home because it could bring traces to school. DON'T TELL ME HOW TO LIVE MY LIFE!

Can you think of any other things you did at school in the 80s that wouldn't hold up today? Let us know!