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Richard Vernon

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Principal Richard Vernon

Principal Richard Vernon

Don't mess with the bull young man, you'll get the horns.
~ - Richard Vernon to John Bender

Richard Vernon is the principal of Shermer High School and the main antagonist of the 1985 movie The Breakfast Club.

He is played by the late Paul Gleason, who reprised the role in the A-Teens music video for Dancing Queen (which is a tribute to and a parody of the film), as a dean in Boy Meets World and in the explicit parody film Not Another Teen Movie.

Vernon is strict and a bully disciplinary at Shermer High School in Shermer, Illinois. He isn't pure evil, though. He just finds out that it isn't easy to be teaching students anything. He also does not have any evil minions to do his dirty work.

When Vernon sees that the five students have arrived on a Saturday, he checks his watch to find out it is 7:06. He gives the teens exactly 8 hours and 54 minutes to think about why they're here, and forbids them to talk, move from their seats, and to even sleep. He then assigns them something different: a 1000-word essay telling him who they think they are. When Bender asks him if Barry Manilow knows that Vernon raids his wardrobe, Vernon gives him another Saturday of detention.

Eventually, when he finds the door closed, even with a chair in the way, he gets Andrew Clark to help him, only for it to end up a failure. When Bender tells him maybe a screw fell out of the door, Vernon demands the screw, even threatening to yank him out of the seat and shake the screw out of him. When Bender insults him, Vernon gives Bender totally two months of detention. He makes his students eat their lunch in the library. Later, when Vernon catches Bender playing in the gym, he tells the other teens that Bender will no longer be in their services. Vernon also threatens Bender in a storage closet and tries to pick a fight with him. But Bender refuses to fight Vernon as Bender responds to Vernon if he is threatening him and he calls Bender a "gutless turd" and locks him in the closet.

Carl Reed, the janitor at the school, when he catches Vernon viewing the confidential records of the school staff in the basement, Vernon turns around and sees Carl standing there. "Hey Carl good to see you". Carl then blackmails Vernon into giving him $50. Not too long after, Vernon and Carl are having a conversation about the kids and drinking some beer. Vernon asks Carl "What did you wanna be when you were young?", and Carl responds "When I was a kid, I wanted to be John Lennon". Vernon responds "Carl, don't be a goof. I'm making a serious point here." Vernon tells Carl that he has been teaching for 22 years and the kids get more and more and more arrogant. Carl says to Vernon "the kids haven't changed, you have." He tells Vernon that he thought that his job would be easy and to find that it is actual work and it bummed him out. Vernon says "These kids turned on me, they think I'm a big fucking joke". Carls asks Vernon "Listen Vernon, if you were sixteen, what would you think of you?" Vernon could care less what they think of him. Vernon tells Carl "You think about this: when you get old, these kids - when I get old - they're going to be running the country." and Vernon says "Now this is the thought that wakes me up in the middle of the night. That when I get older, these kids are going to take care of me" and Carl tells him "I wouldn't count on it."

By the end of the day, Vernon reads the essay that Brian Johnson wrote. The five teens did not write he told them to write about. Those five teens tell him that he's crazy and their a lot better than him. These teens leave detention as better people. Vernon, with his talk with Carl seems to have changed some for the better.

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