7 things you'll remember about school bullies

Grange Hill bully Gripper Stebson takes it out on Roland.Grange Hill bully Gripper Stebson takes it out on Roland.
Grange Hill bully Gripper Stebson takes it out on Roland.
It's no laughing matter, but school bullying is back in the headlines with news that pupils in Doncaster are using social media to spread rumours about fellow pupils' sex lives.

We're not going to make light of the issue - but we're looking back to bullying in the 70s and 80s - and some of the most repeated lines about being picked on. Did they happen in Doncaster's classrooms?

Heads being flushed down toilets

One of those threats we've all heard of from time to time - aimed at the first year pupils who'd be threatened with a soggy and unpleasant experience by coming face to face with a porcelain bowl and a cascade of water.

Getting beaten up for dinner tickets

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The currency of playground bullies in the 1970s and 80s was dinner tickets - little vouchers issued at the start of the week that you'd handover each day to get your grub. Needless to say, they were of interest to those who wanted to top up their supply.

Graffiti on toilet walls

What better way to let your classmates know about the looseness of someone's morals by scribbling it on a toilet cubicle wall? Everyone must know someone who supposedly offered "free sex" in the 80s.

Fights after school

Any scores were always to be settled after the final bell of the day - preferably on a bit of wasteground where the entire school would turn out to watch the punch-up, with news spreading like wildfire through classrooms during the day. And you'd get your mate to hold your coat.

Gripper Stebson

For those of a certain vintage, mention school bullies and there's only one name that will spring to mind - the notorious Gripper Stebson who terrorised the corridors of the London comprehensive with fear and menace - particularly Roland Browning - before eventually being caught and expelled.

Was Dennis The Menace gay-bashing?

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Another famous menace of the 70s and 80s was Dennis The Menace, the spiky-haired cartoon ruffian who spent his days beating up flower-pressing, teddy-hugging Walter The Softy and his male pals. It led some to question whether the strip was homophobic.


Pity the poor child who had their underwear yanked up around their ears for the humour and amusement of fellow pupils. Still being practised in classrooms today, as far as we are aware.

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