Upstander, not Bystander!

coolMs. Gilmour greeted each of the kids with a smile and a high-five. Tanner, Nicole, Rudy, Carmen, Stephen and Truman the Dragon all greeted her the same way. When they were settled down, she asked, “Who remembers what we talked about last time?”

Rudy replied first. “Don’t stand by and watch bullying happen.”

Nicole added, “Don’t be a bystander.”

Carmen said, “I found out that bystanders can be part of the problem.”
Ms. Gilmour said, “Carmen, I see that you did what I asked all of you to do before class this time.”

Carmen smiled, thanked her and continued. “Some bystanders help start the bullying and even join in.”

Stephen added, “That’s not cool.”

Carmen continued, “The bystander often laughs or gets others to watch the bullying, like it’s okay, which it’s not! But the worst is when kids are silent because then the bully thinks they agree with what is going on, and the poor kid being bullied feels so alone.”

The kids all had some sad things to report about similar things they had observed.

Ms. Gilmour then asked the other kids to share what they had learned on the Internet about being a bystander, and about the need for kids to be UPSTANDERS instead.

Nicole raised her hand and said, “The Bully Project says, ‘An Upstander is someone who recognizes when something is wrong and acts to make it right.’”

Everyone agreed with that. Stephen said, “I found a site called Together Against Bullying that encourages kids to be Upstanders; to move from silence to action.”

Carmen added, “That’s where I found my information.”

Stephen continued, “It says, ‘Research shows that others speaking out or taking action stops bullying behavior over half the time within seconds!’”

Now the kids were all talking at once. They all thought that if the bullying could be stopped so quickly, why weren’t more kids being Upstanders instead of bystanders?

Tanner jumped into the conversation and said, “That site gave tips on how to be an Upstander, but also reasons why more kids aren’t doing it.”

Truman asked Tanner, “What were the tips?”

Tanner went on, “First was it takes COURAGE. It’s not easy to tell a friend who is bullying to stop.”

Nicole added, “Yes, because they might start bullying you.”

Tanner agreed that could happen. He continued, “It takes ACTION. It suggests speaking up with just three words, ‘That is bullying!’ can cause it to stop.”

Tanner then said, “The site says, ‘It takes ASSERTIVENESS to tell a friend how their actions are making you and others feel and how it affects everyone.”

Ms. Gilmour added here, “It takes confidence and being a Cool Kind Kid to do that.”

Tanner finished with, “It takes LEADERSHIP. Upstanders are leaders in their social group, helping others learn how to get along.”

Ms. Gilmour said, “I’m sorry that we don’t have time today to hear what the rest of you learned. Until next time, remember, COOL KIND KIDS ARE UPSTANDERS!”

Note to Parents From Ms. Gilmour:
Bullying is the #2 epidemic in the U.S. In addition to these Cool Kind Kid articles, we endeavor to provide up to date research, articles, and other news on this topic on our Facebook page. For your kids, we post Anti-Bullying and Social Skills Tips from Barbara on Mondays, Tanner’s Tuesday Tips, on Tuesdays, Cool Kind Kid Challenger Tips on Thursdays, and our newest contributor, Oliver’s Tips on Fridays. We also post Shocking Sunday Stats to keep this issue in the forefront of people’s minds. We’d love to post stories and photos of your kids being Cool Kind Kids, and how you have successfully dealt with bullying.

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