Peter Prickly is the principal of Third Street School and the secondary anti-hero of the series. He is the deuteragonist of the first movie.

He is voiced by Dabney Coleman.

Personality and Traits

Kid Prickly Age 11

Petey Prickly as a sixth grader, 1958-59

Even though he is about as strict as Ms. Finster, he is not megalomaniacal, and he is seen in various episodes actually caring about the students. This does not mean that he is always nice to them. He has a complicated relationship with the Recess Gang, more notably with T.J. thanks to the boy's almost constant pranks. Prickly's dream is to one day rise up to be a middle school principal, as was stated numerous times in the series, though he stays the principal of the school even after getting a position as one when he realized how appreciated he was at Third Street.

Prickly is almost always seen with a pink shirt, a green tie, gray or light brown pants, and a black or dark brown tweed suit jacket with a handkerchief in its pocket. He has balding black hair, a noticeable mustache, wrinkles, and he wears glasses just like many of the teachers at Third Street School. His hobby is playing golf.



Petey Prickly in his youth in 1968.

Originally, Peter was hired as a teacher at Third Street School, having attended the same school as a child. In 1968, he was once best friends with ex-Principal Dr. Phillium Benedict who was trying to cancel recess forever to further his career. Peter was shocked by this choice and tried to talk him out of it but to no avail. He informed the district superintendent of this with the intention to only stop his friend but the latter instead relieved Phillium of his duties and Peter was promoted to principal, to his surprise.

Phillium swore revenge on Peter and they would not meet again for another thirty years, though Pete was aware of Phillium's later life. In Recess: School's Out, where his former colleague tries to freeze the world. Peter was taken hostage but was rescued by T.J..

After being reminded of this during the events of the movie, he was remembered that he'd became a teacher all those years ago to help kids and not for the perks of his job.


  • Prickly is somewhat technologically inept as he can't even operate a VCR, let alone a computer in "The Girl Was Trouble".
  • While he was in school in the 1950's, he was known as Petey Prickly.
  • As mentioned in Recess: School's Out, he has a saggy butt, comments to which offend him.
  • As seen in Recess: School's Out, Principal Prickly was once part of the 60's counterculture movement and seemed to have had a sunnier disposition, much like how Miss Finster was hinted to have a similar attitude in the past.
  • The last movie reveals that he has another brother named Thurgood who lives in Alaska.
    • It is unknown if Thurgood is younger or older than Peter.
  • His cold behavior may have come from Phillium Benedict.
  • He, like T.J. and his peers, is an enormous Señor Fusion fan.


Photos The Recess Wiki has a collection of images about Principal Prickly