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Schools based on those in Real Life, where the poorer students go, not to learn, but to cut class, steal what isn't nailed down, vandalize what is, get it on in the restrooms, and do drugs all the time. Most of the teachers have all just given up on doing any actual teaching.

And there are touches just to show how bad things are, like cages around the clocks, just to keep the students from messing with them.

This is where the Save Our Students plot usually takes place (but not always). They are often multi-ethnic enough to throw together a Five-Token Band. There is no in crowd to be in, and if circumstances force a Rich Bitch to transfer here, she will be devastated to learn there is no respect for the Alpha Bitch.

The uniform of choice involves piercings, hair spray painted every color of the spectrum, leather jackets, and/or baggy jeans showing off students' colorful boxers.

Truth in Television to some extent in the US, as American public schools are funded by local taxes on property and the inner city tends to be poor.

Examples of Inner-City School include:

Anime and Manga

  • Ishiyama High, the Delinquents school from Beelzebub.
  • Cromartie High School.
  • Hirin High Every high school mentioned in Angel Densetsu that is not Hekikuu (at least from the reader's point of view). Of course in the manga, Hekikuu High is the most feared of them all, with the devil Banchou, his invincible flunkies and all the yakuza fights around school.
  • All the high schools in Takahashi Hiroshi's works. Both The Crows and Worst take place in the infamous Suzuran High. Bonus points for the extreme realism of the settings (not of the people, but hey, it's a shounen after all).


  • Omega the Unknown has a rather extreme example where one boy is beaten in a bathroom for tattling, eventually dying from his injuries.



  • Up The Down Staircase, from the point of view of a teacher who is a novice, and is thus willing to try.
  • The school where Precious of Push by Sapphire goes.
  • Parker Junior High in Ethan, Suspended. Not played entirely straight in that, while it may have security cameras and uniforms instead of soap in the bathrooms and textbooks printed in recent decades, it's a fully-functioning school where actual learning takes place.

Live-Action TV

  • Lincoln Heights averts this. Neither the middle school or the high school featured resemble an inner city school, despite being in an inner city neighborhood. In fact the schools have teachers that actually care about the students, fairly updated technology and diverse ethic and racial groups.
  • The Greatest American Hero
  • Boston Public
  • Used in an episode of Without a Trace.
  • Bronx Zoo.
  • Fourth season of The Wire that takes place at the Middle School Randy, Dukie, and Michael attend and is particularly brutal and honest example of how they subconsciously prepare the kids for a life of dealing resulting in some of the series' biggest tear jerkers.
  • Featured in two episodes of Cold Case, 8:03 AM and especially True Calling
  • Another UK example; Hope Park Comprehensive in 1990s Lenny Henry vehicle Hope And Glory. Henry plays a "superhead" of the kind that were in the UK news at the time, trying to turn around a school where the sixth form centre was burnt down, and the former head (Peter Davison) turns his leaving speech into a rant about how worthless it all is.
  • This trope was rather acidly parodied in this MadTV sketch.

Western Animation

  • PS 118 in Hey Arnold!.
  • Parodied in Family Guy when Brian had to teach a group of very tough students, though this was in a remedial class in a suburban school as opposed to an Inner-City School. The tone remains the same, though, and the students fit the archetypes commonly seen in the Inner-City School depictions.
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