What Upstander Behavior Looks Like

Although our focus here is on bully-victim behavior, when we walk down the hall and see garbage on the floor, someone who is clearly upset or being bullied, we all make a choice. We either decide to be a passive bystander who does nothing or an upstander who says, “I will do something to help make things better.”

In bully-victim situations, an upstander is someone who recognizes the situation and does something to make it right.

The Influence of Upstanders

A recent report looked at the 37 lethal shootings since 1975, and close to 300 people knew about the attacks. In 4 out of 5 of these violent attacks, student witnesses knew about the plans, but most chose not to tell. * (U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Department of Education and Harvard Medical School's McLean Hospital)

School climate—or the quality and character of school like, that naturally shapes how safe and connected people feel in school—was a major factor in shaping passive bystander or “upstander” behavior. In other words, working to create a safe, caring, connected and responsive school climate can save lives.