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Snitches get Stitches

Dear Sam,

I'm sure that you're aware of the common phrase "snitches get stitches" which implies that people who tell on others will be harassed further. I don't agree with this statement but it seems that if you ask anyone else at my school, they will imply that snitching is a rude thing and is almost, in a way, worse than the thing that you were going to snitch on. I'm worried that if I tell on anyone and they find out then they will harass me even more and that if I ever told a student at school my opinion on this then I would get bullied for it.

My questions on this are:

Why do people say this?

Why do people see snitching as a bad thing?

What can I do if people find out I told?

Does everyone have the right to tell an adult if people are mean to them?

Ask Sam

Sam

​Hi there,

Doing the right thing is not always clear or easy. When we see someone doing something they shouldn't it can be hard to know what you should do. There's no rule that I can give you to say what you should do in all situations, other than relying on your own sense of right and wrong. Nobody should ever hurt, bully or threaten you for any reason. If you’re being bullied, we can help.

Someone might say a phrase like this to scare a person into staying quiet. Usually this means that they know they have done something wrong and are trying to avoid getting into trouble. Anytime someone tells you to keep something they have done a secret, it's important to think about why they might not want anyone to find out.

It's difficult to say why people might see it as a bad thing if you tell an adult what's happened. Some young people could be worried that they’ll get in trouble and that an adult might tell them off. By trying to make it seem like adults and young people are on different sides it makes it less likely people will tell an adult when they are doing something wrong.

If you felt you had to tell an adult about something that you were worried about, you haven't done anything wrong. If someone finds out you have done this and is unhappy, that's their own feelings they need to deal with. If they begin to bully or threaten you then it's okay to tell an adult that this is happening. If you're worried that telling someone is going to make it worse, you could always tell them that you're worried this might happen, so they can try their best to stop it.

Everyone has the right to talk about what worries them - whether that's to an adult, a friend or to someone like Childline. You can always talk to Childline if you're ever worried, for any reason at all.

Thanks for your questions, take care.

Sam

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