T.J. and the Recess Gang are deemed criminals because of an accident involving a statue of the school's namesake.
The episode begins with a journalist introducing himself in front of the school. The clip changes to two construction workers (from "The Great Jungle Gym Standoff") putting the 60 year old statue of Thaddeus T. Third III in its place, which has returned from overseas after eight years getting shined. The workers realize that they left the bolts to secure the statue to its pedestal in their work van, but they decide to take a break and go for lunch. Back on the playground, the children are busy cleaning the school for the rededication ceremony. The Recess Gang are part of the Leaf team and sent to the front lawn to clean up some stray leaves. Gretchen explains to Gus that the town is "a buzz" over the statue's return to the school. When they see the statue, they appreciate its majesty and then climb it, just when the statue is revealed and the whole town sees them atop the statue. Moments later, it starts to tip over to the side; the gang evacuates and the statue shatters when it hits the ground. Miss Finster exclaims "You six are in the biggest trouble ever!"
Later on the local TV News channel, the journalist expresses his anger and gives the children the name "The Destructive Six." He reveals that Mayor Fitzhugh will conduct a secret meeting to decide a punishment for the kids. The next day while on the way to school, the children decide that they will apologize to Principal Prickly and explain their side of the story. Later, they are forbidden from recess and from seeing Prickly. They are given punishments by Miss Finster that she thought were 'appropriate'. For several days the kids had to clean the floor with toothbrushes, peel onions and cut grass on the playground with scissors, while wearing orange coveralls, like prisoners. During the punishment, Mayor Fitzhugh tells them they will be attending a hearing with himself as the judge since the council has decided a punishment: to send them to six separate schools. This shocks everyone, even an outraged Miss Finster and Principal Prickly protest that this sort of punishment is a little too extreme. T.J. is at a loss for a plan when Miss Finster asks if he has one.
The gang's parents tried to get an appeal but were denied. At the hearing in city hall, T.J. gives the gang's genuine apology, stating that the friendship between the gang can't be broken than the statue itself. However, Fitzhugh refuses to accept the apology (despite Prickly's protest on behalf of the kids) and as he's about to declare the punishment, Thaddeus T. Third the V (grandson of Thaddeus T. Third the III) enters city hall.
Third berates Fitzhugh for treating the kids like felons and shows everyone a slide projection of photos of Finster, Prickly, and others climbing the statue together when they were children, which Finster is a little embarrassed at, and Prickly fondly recalls. However, Third next pays extra attention to Mayor Fitzhugh as a young boy in the photo, the only one actually trying to break the statue by pushing it over. Third tells Fitzhugh that the kids can't be punished for doing things that kids have always done, and always will do; one might as well punish them for being shorter than adults. He berates Fitzhugh as a "jingle-headed public servant" and reminds him when someone apologizes for an accident (and accidents will happen), the matter is closed and sternly "strongly urges" him to do so. Recognizing that pursuing the matter will only make him look even worse, Mayor Fitzhugh quickly proclaims the matter closed and pardons the kids, to which everybody celebrates; even Prickly and Finster hugged each other in relief. The kids then thank Third for vouching for them.
- Coloring error: When everyone gasps after seeing the Recess Gang on the statue, Sue Bob Murphy's hair is red.
- Animation error: When the gang are shown laughing at Vince's joke when they're scrubbing the floor with toothbrushes, Gus' mouth is drawn over his hand.
- Consistency error: The gang walk through the Kindergartener's playground to get to the front of the school, which would suggest you could just leave the school this way. Which seems unlikely seeing the rest of the school is fenced off.
- In the beginning of the episode, it's revealed that the "J" is TJ's name stands for "Jasper," which would be his middle name.
- Clips of this episode were included in Toon Disney's "Weekend Bonus Stacks" promo from 2004.
- Thaddeus T. Third V. makes his first appearance in this episode.
- Mundy's first name is revealed to be Conrad.
- This is the second episode that references 'The Box' after it's creation.
- This is the third time T.J. is shown wearing his "formal" outfit; the first two times being in "The Experiment" and "One Stayed Clean".
- This is the second time Spinelli wears her first "formal" outfit; the first time being in "The Experiment".
- This is the second time Mikey wears his "formal" outfit; the first time being in "One Stayed Clean".
- This is the second time Vince wears his first "formal" outfit, the first time being in "Teachers Lounge".
- This is the first time Gretchen and Gus are shown in their second "formal" outfits; they will wear them again in "Bonky Fever".
- The council of ministers will appear again in Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade.
- The episode pays homage to both Escape from Alcatraz and Full Metal Jacket.
- T.J. Detweiler - Andrew Lawrence
- Vince LaSalle - Rickey D'Shon Collins
- Ashley Spinelli - Pamela Segall-Adlon
- Gretchen Grundler - Ashley Johnson
- Mikey Blumberg - Jason Davis
- Gus Griswald - Courtland Mead
- Miss Finster - April Winchell
- Principal Prickly - Dabney Coleman
- Mayor Fitzhugh - Ronnie Schell
- Thaddeus T. Third V - Ed Asner
- Mort Chalk - Charles Kimbrough
- Ron/Construction Worker - Gregg Berger
- Conrad Mundy - Warren Sroka
- Jerry/Man - Sam McMurray