The Principal's Office

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
The Principal's Office TV Poster Image
Docuseries shows high school discipline in action.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Though some schools' disciplinary styles might raise some viewers' eyebrows, overall, students are expected to follow rules and take responsibility for their actions. The students featured are primarily Caucasian, but African-American and Latino students are occasionally visible. One of the principals is African-American.


At one school, students can choose between Saturday detention and receiving corporal punishment. A student is heard crying out when being paddled by the principal, but the actual paddling isn't shown.


One class clown gets suspended for dancing provocatively, pinching his nipples in class, and complimenting his female teacher inappropriately. Other discussions about appropriate/inappropriate behavior and contact at school dances, etc.


Students sometimes speak inappropriately to authority figures. Some kids use words like "suck" and "crap." Occasional stronger curse words like "s--t" are bleeped out.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One student is suspended for smoking on campus, but he also chooses to attend counseling to ease his nicotine addiction. Potential for discussions about drinking and drug use among underage teens.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although the discipline problems addressed in this reality series -- which documents how various high school principals manage their schools -- are generally rather mild and relatable for teens (being late to class, text messaging during school hours, etc.), occasionally more serious issues like smoking come up. One principal gives students the choice of accepting Saturday detention or corporal punishment -- an option that won't sit well with all viewers. In the same episode, a student can be heard crying out when being hit by the paddle, but the punishment isn't shown. Students sometimes mouth off to authority figures (the occasional swear words, like "s--t," are bleeped out).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byCooldee June 22, 2011

Paddling is worng!

Spanking children is not right at all!
Teen, 13 years old Written byvsquadcheer July 24, 2009


This show isnt about the messages that the kids on TV are showing, its about laughing at the jerks who do those stupid things to end up in the principals office... Continue reading

What's the story?

THE PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE is an unscripted series that follows high school administrators from around the country as they use their own personal style to manage their schools. Viewers get to see how the featured principals, assistant principals, and deans react to the strangest (and sometimes lamest) excuses for not following the rules, dole out punishments, and handle parents who refuse to accept that their son or daughter requires disciplinary action.

Is it any good?

Overall, the series offers a rather sanitized version of what many principals deal with on a daily basis. While many of the student offenses the adminstrators deal with are minor infractions, others are potentially more problematic (for example, one principal discovers that a student is chronically late to class due to a growing addiction to menthol cigarettes). Some of the students' reactions to being disciplined for their actions are mildly entertaining, but other teens become belligerent or disrespectful when they have to face authority figures or are forced to face the consequences of their actions.

The administrators are quick to point out that they expect students to be respectful and learn to take responsibility for their actions. But some of their disciplinary styles raise questions, too. Some principals rely solely on black and white rules to deal with what are sometimes complex behavioral issues, and at least one uses corporal punishment. But despite these issues, these high school overseers make a point of requiring students to learn that to every action there is a consequence, and that rules are not made to be broken. Bottom line? Not only may teens (and even some mature older tweens) enjoy this show, but they might also learn a thing or two about staying out of trouble, too.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what messages this show is trying to convey. Do you think it's trying to make specific points about teens? School discipline? Do you think the show helps or hurts the image of school principals? Kids: How do your principals compare to the ones shown here? Parents: Do you remember your high school principal? What stands out? Families can also discuss corporal punishment in public schools. Do you think paddling is an appropriate or acceptable form of discipline? What if the student chooses it?

TV details

  • Premiere date: August 21, 2008
  • Network: truTV
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: NR
  • Last updated: September 19, 2019

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate