Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Friend's bad reputation gets him into trouble

hi sam,

i know the topic was about if you personally had difficulty keeping out of trouble but i am asking on behalf of a friend. he has had a bit of a bad reputation in the past and was always getting in trouble. this year he has toned things down a bit but the problem is that because of before, the slightest thing will get him into trouble and it isnt fair if it is something really small, like asking for a gluestick when the teacher has asked for quiet.

it would be nice to hear back from you,


Ask Sam


Hi there,

The way we have behaved in the past can affect the way people think of us now. Having a reputation for getting into trouble might mean that someone assumes your friend will behave badly again, even if they’ve changed. This is judgemental and isn't fair because everyone deserves to be treated equally. If you and your friend think the teachers at school are being unfair, it's important to talk to them about it.

Reputations can be good or bad and our words and actions from the past do have consequences on how people treat us. Your friend may have made some choices in the past that they regret, but he deserves the chance to change. Nobody is perfect and it's good that your friend is trying hard to do better at school.

It's not fair if your friend is being punished for things that others are not. The best way to change this would be for him to sit down and talk through what he is feeling with a teacher that he trusts. It would be important for him to say he understands he has made mistakes in the past and that he has a reputation because of it, but that he also feels he deserves a chance to change. It would be okay to say he feels that sometimes he gets in trouble because of his reputation rather than what he is doing now.

If your friend feels like he can't do this on his own then perhaps you could help him to do it. There a number of ways you can help a friend who’s going through a tough time. One way is to find a time when your teacher is alone and can talk in private - or ask them for this. Sometimes having a friend can help someone feel more confident when talking to someone like a teacher.

If this doesn't change anything, or your friend doesn't feel able to talk to a teacher then they could ask someone at home to speak with school on their behalf. Having an adult get involved can help take the stress away from your friend.

I hope this has helped but if you or your friend wants to talk some more, our counsellors are available to listen.

Take care.


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