Are You a Person Who Stands Up?

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Being an upstander means actively standing up against injustice, bullying, or discrimination instead of being a passive bystander. It involves taking action to support and defend others who are being mistreated or marginalized. Upstanders speak out, intervene, or provide assistance to those in need. They challenge harmful attitudes and behaviors, promote inclusivity and equality, and strive to create a safer and more just society. By being an upstander, you can make a positive difference in the lives of others and help create a world where everyone feels valued, respected, and protected.


Have you ever witnessed bullying? Unfortunately, it’s a very common occurrence. Every year, numerous children and even adults find themselves at the receiving end of harmful treatment and intimidation. In recent times, cyberbullying has exacerbated the problem.

Being bullied is an awful experience. That’s why it is crucial for everyone to be vigilant about this type of behavior. However, even when you witness another person being bullied, it can be challenging to know how to respond. When should you intervene? How should you intervene? What if something bad happens?

A person who observes an incident but does not participate in it is referred to as a bystander. Often, people become bystanders when someone else is being bullied. They may be unsure how to put a stop to what is happening, or they may fear becoming a target themselves. However, there is an alternative: Instead of being a bystander, you can become a person who stands up.

What is a person who stands up? It is an individual who speaks or takes action to intervene on behalf of a person being bullied. People who stand up may also voice their support for a cause they care about. They can act both in person and online.

How can you be a person who stands up? First, be a friend. If you see someone being bullied, offer them support. Just being present or walking alongside the person can deter a bully. It is also helpful to make friends outside of your usual circle. Invite others to join you at your lunch table or to play a game during recess.

People who stand up also disrupt instances of bullying. They can do this by refusing to engage in gossip or spread rumors about others. They also disrupt by giving the bullied person a reason to walk away from the situation. If you see someone being bullied, provide a distraction or a safe way out. Then, check on the person who was bullied to see if they require further support.

Another way to be a person who stands up is to speak out. This can be difficult and even frightening. However, sometimes telling the bully to stop is all it takes to end a harmful situation.

If you watched the video in today’s image and video gallery, you heard Paul Parks’ testimony. He recounted a time from his childhood when he acted as a person who stands up. Paul protected his friend, Maurice, from other children at school who wanted to physically attack him.

Striving to be a person who stands up is important. However, it is also crucial not to put yourself in harm’s way. If the situation appears dangerous, find an adult or authority figure who can assist. This can be just as effective as intervening or speaking out. Don’t worry, this is not the same as tattling. If you witness someone being bullied, you can be a person who stands up by informing a teacher, parent, or another adult.

Have you ever witnessed a person who stands up in action? Maybe you are already one yourself! Another excellent way to combat bullying is to discuss it with your friends and family members. You can help them become people who stand up instead of bystanders too. Together, you can make a significant difference in your school and community.

Give It a Try

Are you interested in learning more ways to become an upstander? This article from BullyBust.org offers a variety of effective strategies. Share the ones you believe would work best with a friend or family member.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where someone was being bullied and you didn’t know what to do? Have you personally experienced bullying? Write a personal narrative about your encounter with bullying, whether as a victim or a witness. How did it affect you emotionally? Did anyone step in to help? Discuss your experience with a friend or family member.

Do you feel unsafe in certain areas of your school? Are there places where you think bullying might occur? On the other hand, where do you feel the safest, and what can you do to improve the safety of those vulnerable areas? Engage a friend or family member in this map creation activity from HEAR.

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