Lies in the Classroom

Vignette #2


I am a class teacher of the eight graders and I have 10 years’ teaching experience. I trust my students because we have built a strong relationship during the last four years. On Friday morning, five students came to school under the influence of alcohol. I called them the same day to talk about it, but they presented the situation in their favour and at first, I believed them. 

After the class, their classmates secretly came to me and told me that these pupils were really drinking and even took a video about it. I had some doubts about how to respond to the secret they shared with me. A sleepless night followed and I decided to talk to the principal after the weekend.

On Monday morning, I spoke to the principal who called the meeting with pupils and the school counsellor to find out what happened. The pupils denied it all. I had no concrete evidence about it and I was really in doubt, whether it was all right to investigate the event. 

I informed the parents and their reactions were different - some did not even respond, others said they would talk to their child, one claimed they thought that it was not true. I couldn’t rely on their view upon it because they were overprotective.

I turned to my more experienced colleagues about the situation and their opinions differed as well. I felt more and more confused and I no longer knew what I am supposed to do. I wished to have some opportunities for coaching to think about my role and my responsibility. There was also a question about the ethical part of the story. Have I betrayed the trust of some students? 


How should I deal with secrets somebody shares with me? Whom shall I trust?


  • Discuss the situation with colleagues (Critical Incident - tool 21)
  • Reflect on own values and choices according to pupil behaviour (A tool for debriefing – tool 23)
  • Discuss values of trust, honesty, and friendship with students (Interview – tool 13)
  • Discuss common approaches to misbehaviour with parents (Talks with parents - tool 8)