[my own comments marked by square brackets]

Informant: “Nuggeting is when you take somebody’s bookbag and empty all the contents and turn it completely inside out and then put all the stuff back in and zip it back closed so that it’s just like a useless lump, or a nugget, that you have to like carry around until you can fix it all. And then we also would zip-tie people’s bookbags through random really tall things, I don’t know, so that if it was like a freshman they wouldn’t be able to reach it, they’d have to like go get a teacher to help them. Or just like zip-tie people’s lockers closed, random little pranks like that, that were pretty harmless, cause my school was all, mostly like really good kids. So we had to have these really silly ways of getting out like our inner aggressions.”

[It was a Christian high school right?]

“Mhmm, yeah it was a Christian school.”

[So no Freshman Friday.]

“No major hazing or anything like that, just like random silly pranks that were really inconveniencing, but not harmful.”

[So how did a nuggetee react? Did people get upset or think it was funny?]

“It was like a mixture of anger and hilarity, I guess. If you got nuggeted quite a few times, you would be rather angry at that point but I would imagine that most people kinda thought it was funny on their first nugget.

[Was it done among friends?]

“It was done among friends and just to random victims that happened to leave their bookbags in the hallway.”

[Would people become friends as a result of being nuggeted?]

“*laughs* No. I mean it’s just like a really harmless thing that got out all the teenage malice and aggression, cause we couldn’t really like fight or anything in our school, we would probably get expelled for something like that, so we had to do a lot of these silly little harmless things to get all the fighting aggression out.”

[Were there any repeat targets, like people who were always getting nuggeted?]

“Um, our school was mostly very accepting of people, except there was a couple of really odd people that would get targeted a lot more than others. [What made them odd?] Being like extremely nerdy and pretentious and, I don’t know, things like, there’s this one nerd who wore like fifty disgusting looking bracelets on his arm and was utterly pretentious and we all just kind of hated him. He was the target of nuggeting and even like impersonations. He had some friends but I think he considered himself too smart for everybody.”

[But he was never like physically taunted.]

“No, no, it was always just silly things.”

[What was your school’s demographic like?]

“Middle and upper class kids. And it was a private school.”


I went to a public school so I don’t really know if the stereotypes about private schools are true. This private school in particular is in a very suburban area of greater Atlanta and has a nice campus that isn’t too excessive. My informant and her friends from high school are very grounded individuals who were never big into teenage rebellion of the illegal or deviant variety, which I know runs rampant at other private schools, especially the extremely wealthy urban ones. Nuggeting seems like such an innocent, childish prank whose only malice is preventing access to school books. It also seems to punish those who aren’t keeping careful track of their things. This leads me to believe that preparedness and personal order are generally valued by the student body, and that people are expected to be pretty conducted–pretty normal. Those who aren’t, either by wearing too many bracelets or being aggressively knowledgeable (both of which probably would have been embraced as quirky and intriguing at my school), are treated with disdain. That is usually the kind of environment encouraged by a Christian school, and instead of lashing out against those principles, the students seem to have genuinely adopted the moral aspects of that influence even if not the religious aspects.