From the Halls of Montezuma

“From the Halls of Montezuma” (the Marine’s Hymn) inspired plenty of “destroy the school” songs.

Some that Kay Shapero herself remembered from California in the 1950s:

From the halls of 54th St.
To the shores of Malibu
We will fight our teacher battle
And break the golden rule
We will fight for right and freedom
And to keep our desks a mess
We are proud to claim the title
Of the Teacher’s Little Pests.

“From the halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli
We will knock out all the teachers
And throw them in the sea.
We will shoot down all the principals
And throw them in a lake.
Tomorrow we will bring to school
A great big rattlesnake!”

Bronner collected this one from the 70s:

From the halls of Montezuma
to the shores of bubble gum bay
we will fight our teacher’s battles
with spitballs mud and clay
We will fight for lunch and recess
and to keep our desks a mess
we are proud to claim the title
of “teacher’s number-one pest”

The same one was collected by Sherman in the 90s. Other versions generally seem to be a mashup of lines from these three. Possibly because it was an American army song, no version of this seems to be in any of Peter and Iona Opie’s books from the UK. Did it ever make it over there?

It’s tempting to guess that this song started out as a parody sung in the army that filtered down to schools, but since it’s so school-oriented, I’d say it’s more likely by a kid.

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  1. Steve

    Similar to the song I remember from Indiana grade school in the mid-to-late '50s.

    (Sung to the tune of "the Battle Hymn of the Republic")

    "Mine eyes have seen the glory
    of the burning of the school,
    We have tortured every teacher;
    We have broken every rule…"

    The rest seems to escape me, but there was more.

  2. -Alan D Hopewell

    "Then we went down to the Office
    And we shot the Principal
    Us kids are marching on….
    Glory, glory hallelujah
    Teacher hit me with a ruler
    I hid behind the door
    With a Colt .44
    And there ain't no teacher no more!"

    1960's, Lorain, Ohio


    There is no school today
    Our teacher passed away
    She died of tooth decay.

    We threw her in the bay
    She scared the fish away
    And when they pulled her out
    She smelled like sauerkraut.

  3. Paula Green

    Tar ra ra BOOM de ay,
    our teacher passed away, (or died today)
    we threw her in the bay
    to scare the sharks away

    come on let's fish her out
    we'll stake her for a trout
    she would have won first prize
    she's of enormous size


    Ta ra ra BOOM de-ay
    I'll take your clothes away!
    And while your standing there
    I'll take your underwear!

    And then on an ending phrase

    (Then you'll be baaaaaaare….!)

  5. 131488WOLF131488

    From the halls of montezuma
    To the shores of bubble gum bay
    I have fought my classrooms battles
    With spitballs and razor blades

    I have fought for longer recess
    And to keep a messy desk

    I am proud to hold the title
    As the teachers biggest pest!

    Sacramento, ca
    Late 60's early 70's

  6. Lee

    1966, Florida

    “From the halls of ####### School to the shores of Bubblegum Bay,
    We will fight our teachers’ paddles with spitballs, bubblegum and clay.
    First to fight for right of recess, and to keep our desks a mess,
    We are proud to claim the title of “The Teachers’ Number One Pest!”

    Yes, they used paddles on us.

  7. Dwain Williams

    I believe it was in 1962 on the school bus when we rewrote a version to:

    From the halls of Fruita Central
    To the Shores of Bubblegum Bay
    We have fought for children’s freedom
    With spitwads, mud and clay
    We have punched the teachers in the nose
    And heading for Mexico
    We are proud to claim the title
    Of the unteachables

  8. Gil Lopez

    I grew up in Willingboro, New Jersey. Pennypacker was an elementary school. Our version went:

    From the halls of Pennypacker
    To the shores of Willingboro Creek.
    We will fight our classroom battles
    With spit, bubblegum and tape
    First to fight for rights and recess
    And to keep our desks a mess
    We are proud to claim the title
    Of the teachers number one pests.


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