Posted by Bellefaire JCB on January 29, 2016

SAY Playbook #4: Bystanding is for Bullies

  • Prevention & Early Intervention Prevention & Early Intervention
  • Counseling and Community Services Counseling and Community Services

Your SAY Playbook. Be the Change.


#4 - Bystanding Is for Bullies

10 Ways To Be An Upstander

Every day you have a chance to make our schools and world a better place. Putting an end to bullying is everyone's responsibility. When we work together and stand strong against bullying, we are creating communities that are safer and more supportive - places where every person is valued for who they are. 

Here's how you can have your SAY and help that change.

  1. Learn more about mean, cruel, and bullying behavior. Educate yourself on why kids bully, where bullying takes place most often in your school, the effects of bullying, and how you can help prevent it. Understanding this information will help you if you are bullied, and will help you to stand up to bullies if a friend or classmate is being bullied.
  2. Help others who are being bullied. Be a friend, even if this person is not yet your friend. Go over to them. Let them know how you think they are feeling. Walk with them. Help them to talk to an adult about what just happened. Just think for a moment about how great this would be if someone did this for you when you were being picked on or hurt!
  3. Stop untrue or harmful messages from spreading online or in person. If someone sends a message or tells you a rumor that you know is untrue, stand up and let the person know it is wrong. Think about how you would feel if someone spread an untrue rumor about you. Don’t laugh, send the message on to friends, or add to the story. Make it clear that you do not think that kind of behavior is cool or funny.
  4. Get friends involved. Share this SAY Playbook and other related materials with friends. Let people know that you are an upstander and encourage them to be one too. Sign the Stand Up Pledge, and make it an everyday commitment for you and your friends.
  5. Make friends outside of your circle. Eat lunch with someone who is alone. Show support for a person who is upset at school by asking them what is wrong or bringing them to an adult who can help.
  6. Be aware of the bullying and upstander policies at your school and keep it in mind when you witness bullying. What are the school’s bully prevention policies? Are there also policies that catch kids “being good”? If there isn’t a policy, get involved or ask teachers or front office staff to speak about how you can reduce bullying.
  7. Welcome new students. If someone is new at your school, make an effort to introduce them to your friends, and make them comfortable. Imagine how you would feel leaving your friends and coming to a new school.
  8. Refuse to be a “bystander” and be a role model to others instead. If you see friends or classmates laughing along with the bully, tell them that they are contributing to the problem. Let them know that kind of behavior is not okay in your school.
  9. Respect others' differences and help others to respect differences. It’s cool for people to be different—that’s what makes all of us unique. Join a diversity club at school to help promote tolerance in your school.
  10. Develop an upstander/prevention program or project at your school that will help reduce bullying and promote socially responsible behavior in school. Bring together a team of students, parents, and teachers who are committed to preventing bullying, and create a community-wide project to raise awareness, share stories and develop helpful supports.

This information is adapted from the Upstander Alliance at

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