|“||Memento Mori ("Remember you will die.")||”|
— The school motto
Prufrock Preparatory School, also known simply as Prufrock Prep, is a gloomy and awful boarding school that serves as the setting for The Austere Academy.
Prufrock exemplifies all the horrible and negative aspects about school:
- Pedantic, biased and strict teachers who play favorites
- Awful cafeteria food
- Tons of stressful homework and exams
- Boring lessons with material that most students will never actually use in real life (Klaus had to constantly measure objects. Violet had to memorize the insignificant and unimportant parts of Mr. Remora's boring self-stories such as how many miles a donkey ran)
The school's treatment of students with unfortunate backgrounds (i.e. orphans) is appalling. For example, they are forced to live in a small uncomfortable shanty known as the Orphans Shack.
Metaphorically, the school is likely meant to prepare students for death by "killing" their free will and independent thought. In other words, they are taught to become mindless obedient workers who respect and submit to authority.
|“||Here's a fun bit of trivia. The architect who built this school was severely depressed.||”|
— Mr. Poe on the architecture
The outside entrance is made up of several buildings (32 in the TV series) that resemble tombstones and sits on a brown lawn. A stone archway at the school's entrance is inscribed with the motto "Memento Mori", which is Latin for "Remember You Will Die."
Nero's office is located inside the Administrative building and the school contains at least two classrooms for the different studies. There is also a large auditorium where Nero's nightly violin recitals are held. Nearby the campus is a large sports field where the school holds pep rallies and where the Baudelaire orphans are forced to participate in S.O.R.E.
The cafeteria is known to serve dishes such as giant lasagnas and pasta for lunch. While on duty, the cafeteria workers are masked so their faces are protected.
The library is described as a pleasant place with comfortable chairs and huge wooden bookshelves. There are brass lamps shaped like different fish and bright blue curtains that give off a serene ocean vibe.
The dormitory is a gray building that is entirely made of stone and shaped like a big toe. Inside is a huge living room with a brick fireplace, a game room, and a large lending library. Every student has his or her own room with a bowl of fresh fruit delivered every Wednesday. However, in order to have the privilege to live in the dormitory, a student must have a permission slip signed by a parent or guardian. Since the Baudelaires' parents and their guardians are deceased or have been fired, they are forced to live in a tin shanty building known as the Orphans Shack. There, bales of hay are used as beds, tiny crabs scurry around the floor, the horrendous wallpaper contains hearts that are arranged in an unappealing pattern, and orange fungus that oozes from the ceiling.
TV Series Divergent Canon
It is revealed that the architect that designed the school was severely depressed.
When the Baudelaire orphans arrive, the Quagmires were "upgraded" from the Orphans Shack to a broom closet instead of being transferred to the dorms assuming they didn't have their permission slips signed. The Orphans Shack was knocked down by Count Olaf during his escape.
The cafeteria food is shown to be dismal and disgusting, though horseradish/apple hybrids are served. Something rather disturbing is that a rabbit corpse can be found in the freezer, causing one to wonder if the school is secretly serving such things in their lunch meat.
The library is not ocean-themed like in the original series, but rather small and contains outdated books. Nero only allows it to be open for ten minutes per day, therefore, making it herculean to get any studying done. Later, Coach Genghis orders it closed.
Vice Principal Nero is in charge of the school's operations and forces the students to attend his six-hour violin recitals every night. The classes seem to be split between Mrs. Bass, the math teacher, and Mr. Remora, the language arts teacher, though Ms. Tench was also listed as a gym teacher.
After Tench's untimely death, Nero immediately hired Coach Genghis, unaware that he is actually Count Olaf in disguise, but he fled the school after the Baudelaire orphans had exposed him for the fifth time.
Mr. Remora (temporarily?) retired after choking on a banana, and Ms. K was hired as his replacement. After Mr. and Mrs. Spats complained about the books she was assigning the students to read, she was fired and promptly kidnapped two orphans before she left. Due to the lack of a Language Arts or Gym teacher, and Mrs. Bass constantly leaving to inspect the bank, Nero usually busied students by having them stare glumly at a camera.
The school eventually closed down, sometime after Mrs. Bass was arrested for bank robbery. It has remained deserted since then. 
One could theorize that the school is probably a V.F.D-related place. The school had notably taught students to develop eidetic memories and become amazing note-takers. These are two qualities that are necessary to become volunteers- and the principal is never seen, possibly since he or she is one themselves.
While Kit Snicket's temporarily held her teaching post at the school, she also released V.F.D. propaganda to the students in the form of books that would teach them codes and secret information, and abducted ("recruited") at least two children that she probably saw as worthy.
It is also revealed that the librarian is a VFD member that delivers messages to potential recruits as well as other volunteers; as Lemony Snicket was aware enough of this to go to the school to retrieve a message, this could imply that the school is known as a VFD-occupied space.
Duncan and Isadora Quagmire, while they were conducting research about Count Olaf, also came across enough evidence about V.F.D. in the school archives that they gained a general grasp on the organization.
There are several classes taught at Prufrock Preparatory School. Mrs. Bass taught the metric system, but the class mainly involved measuring random objects and their memorization skills would be tested.
Mr. Remora taught language arts, but every single class covered monotonous stories that he told about his life and testing his students on the details based on the notes they took. After he retired, Ms. K took over his post and encouraged critical thinking by assigning them to read the following books;
- Cleary, Beverly, Ramona Quimby, Age 8
- Dahl, Roald, Matilda
- Doyle, Vincent Francis, Ivan Lachrymose: Lake Explorer
- Grimm, the Brothers, Grimm's Fairy Tales
- Hudson, W.H., Green Mansions
- Poe, Edgar Allan, The Coded Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe
- Pukalie, Lena, I Lost Something at the Movies
- Salinger, J.D., Nine Stories
- Sir (?), The History of Lucky Smells Lumbermill
- Snicket, Lemony, A Series of Unfortunate Events
- White, E.B., Charlotte's Web
- Wilder, Laura Ingalls, Little House in the Big Woods
She was fired after a short period of time due to a complaint that Carmelita's parents sent to Vice Principal Nero regarding an article about the dangers of children reading certain books. No one has held the post for language arts teacher since.
Ms. Tench was the gym teacher until Coach Genghis temporarily took over before his true identity was revealed. During the time he held his post, he ran an exercise program specifically for the Baudelaire orphans. After Genghis's departure, no known individual has succeeded him.
Rules and Punishments
The school enforces strict discipline and punishments:
- If anyone is late to class, their hands are tied behind their backs during meals. Students that are on the receiving end of this punishment must lean down and eat their food like a dog.
- If a student is late to the cafeteria, their cups and glasses are taken away and the beverages are served in large puddles.
- If a student goes to the administrative building without an appointment, they are forced to eat their meals without silverware.
- If a student misses one of Nero's 6-hour violin recitals, they are forced to buy him a large bag of candy and watch him eat it.
Gym teacher evaluations are worth 51% of a student's grade, meaning if physical education and sports isn't his or her forte, their overall grades can dramatically worsen to the point where they might be punished with expulsion, which occurred to Count Olaf. For example, if a student is a regular straight-A student in all of their classes but has a D in gym, their overall grade can sink to a C. While it is still a passing grade in most schools and universities, it is a dreadful blemish on their academic record nonetheless.
TV Series Divergent Canon
In the TV series, the school is depicted as being located in the middle of nowhere, possibly in the Hinterlands. A fence around the perimeter causes the school to be reminiscent of a prison. It is mentioned that that the school suffers from budget cuts, which is why Vice Principal Nero can not afford to hire an administrative assistant without resorting to child labor, and the reason why the library is out-of-date. Their mascot is a dead horse due to the expression, "You can't beat a dead horse."
The episode "The Penultimate Peril: Part Two" revealed that the Taxi Driver used to go to Prufrock Preparatory when he was young during a discussion with Nero. When the Taxi Driver asked him to give his regards to the principal, Nero mocked his request by stating that his role is more important, and that nobody has seen the principal in ages.
The episode "The End" revealed that Ishmael used to be the principal of Prufrock Preparatory School. Whenever he noticed children with a "gleam" in their eye, he would recruit them into V.F.D in order to stand up against the ignorance and injustice in the world, making it a quieter, safer place. This revelation contradicts the books' canon because it describes V.F.D. as being several generations old.
- Vice Principal Nero - Vice principal
- Mrs. Bass - Metric system teacher
- Sunny Baudelaire - Nero's administrative worker and secretary, briefly
- Coach Genghis (Count Olaf in disguise) - New gym teacher (briefly)
- Ms. K - Teacher
- Ishmael - Former Chemistry teacher
- Mr. Remora - Language arts teacher
- Ms. Tench † - Gym teacher who "fell" out of a third story window
- White-Faced Women - Two cafeteria workers in disguise (briefly)
- Male Librarian (mentioned in Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography, confirmed VFD member)
- Bald Man with the Long Nose - Mascot Performer
- Olivia Caliban † - Librarian, Cafeteria Worker
- Ishmael - Principal
- Fernald - Mascot Performer
- Henchperson of Indeterminate Gender - Teacher for indeterminate studies
- Larry Your-Waiter - Cafeteria worker
- White-Faced Women - Cheerleaders
- Klaus Baudelaire (Mrs. Bass's student)
- Violet Baudelaire (Mr. Remora's student)
- Duncan Quagmire (Mr. Remora's student)
- Isadora Quagmire (Mrs. Bass's student)
- Carmelita Spats (Mr. Remora's student)
- Two orphans who are kidnapped and recruited into VFD
- Several other unnamed students
- Count Olaf †
- Jacques Snicket †
- Lemony Snicket 
- Kit Snicket †
- Larry Your-Waiter †
- Taxi Driver 
- The school is named after "J. Alfred Prufrock" of T. S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.
- In the TV series, it is mentioned the school was founded by Sir Barrymore Feint. "Barrymore" may be a nod to producer Barry Sonnenfeld. "Feint" may be an allusion to Ellington Feint and Armstrong Feint.
- The Wide Window (indirectly mentioned)
- The Austere Academy
- Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography (mentioned)
- A Series of Unfortunate Events (TV series)
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 PROSE: The Austere Academy
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 PROSE: Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography
- ↑ TV: The Miserable Mill: Part One
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 TV: The Austere Academy: Part One
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 TV: The Austere Academy: Part Two
- ↑ PROSE: The Vile Village
- ↑ PROSE: The End
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 TV: The Miserable Mill: Part Two
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 TV: The End
- ↑ TV: The Penultimate Peril: Part Two