Be an Upstander

Menstuff® has information on Upstanders not Bystanders.

(Short-cut to this page

Creating Cultures of Dignity by Empowering Bystanders
Be a Upstander not just a Bystander
Fess up when you mess up
Virtual Nanny Know what your kids are doing in cyberspace
Reporting an Incident
Related Issues: Bullying, Bullies, Bullying Girls, Bully - The Movie, Cyber Bullying, Cyber Suicide, Date Rape, Harassment, Hazing, Sexual Harassment, Suicide, Teen Suicide
Books: Upstanders, DVDs
Signs: No Bully , Upstanders
Monthly Column on Bullying
FaceBook ap - - Take the pledge!


The Bullying Experiment


Creating a Culture of Dignity by Empowering Bystanders

We've all been bystanders to an act of bullying, whether you realized it or not. It might have happened when you were a kid at school, especially Catholic school. It might have been as a participant in sports or at home with your siblings or from your siblings, a parent or a particular relative, especially at a family gathering. As an adult, think of the places you have worked and your bosses or certain employees. It happens in restaurants, the post office, almost anywhere where two or more people have gathered together.

It's not like any of us looked forward to the confronting the bully. Ironically, it can often be harder to confront a bully we're close to than someone we don't know or don't like. And no matter how you feel about the bully or the target, it can be easy to stay silent because you don't want the abuse directed at you. But here are these inescapable facts:

Almost all of us will be in a situation at some point in the future, maybe even today, where we will see someone bully someone else.

In the past, you might have decided not to get involved based on your feelings toward the bully or the target. If you liked the bully then you were more likely to excuse the behavior. If you thought the target was annoying, then you more easily might have believed that the target was asking for it. But your decision to get involved should be based on the merits of the problem, not on your relationship to the people.

When it happens again, you will have several choices:

You could reinforce the abuse of power by supporting the bully

You could stay neutral - which looks like you're either intimidated by the bully yourself or you support their actions

Or you could act in some way that confronts the bully's abuse of power.

In the face of seeing someone bullied, here are some common reactions:

But what could you do?

Even if you aren't proud of how you handled the bullying in the past, it's important to recognize how hard it is to know what to do in the moment. That fact doesn't mean it's too late to do or say something. Especially if you are friends with the bully, reaching out to them is actually the ultimate sign of your friendship. Yes, the bully may push back, make you uncomfortable, try to get you on their side, but remember what happened and why you feel like the bully's actions were wrong.

And, if you are friends with the target of the bullying, reach out to them, too.

You could say something like, "I'm sorry that happened to you, do you want to tell me about it?"

Don't tell them what they should have done or what you would have done. Listen and help them think through how to address the problem effectively. And if they ask you to back them up the next time it happens, ask them what that looks like to them. If it means upholding their right to be treated with dignity and not getting revenge on the bully, then do it.

In your own words say something like, "This is uncomfortable to talk about but yesterday when you made that put-down remark to Dave, you know that really embarrassed him. And I know I laughed and I know he can be annoying, but it's still wrong. If you do it again I'm not going to back you up."

Let's move away from the bystanders and focus on the adults in our schools and in our community.

The prevailing explanation of why kids won't come forward is because there's a code of silence that forbids them. No one wants to be a snitch. While there's some truth in that - I think just as powerful a reason for kids' silence is that the adults haven't created an environment where kids think reporting will make the problem better instead of worse. Yet, the most common advice we give to bystanders is to tell an adult. Like it or not, the truth is it's not good enough to tell kids to tell an adult.

Telling an adult won't magically solve the problem. What far too many kids know and experience on a daily basis but we deny is that far too many adults are ill equipped to respond effectively and often only cause the child to give up on adults entirely. Furthermore, the very way a lot of adults treat young people - in a condescending or dominant manner - can you say "bully"? - makes it impossible for children to have any confidence in our ability to be effective advocates.

While there are many effective counselors, even the suggestion to "talk to your counselor" may not be realistic. The child may have no idea who the counselor is - let alone a strong enough relationship with them to take this leap of faith. Recent budget cuts have led our school district to cut back on counselors or eliminate them completely. In Brookings, there is one counselor for 1,600 students and one psychotherapist who only works with Special Needs children.

It has always been the case that kids tend to form strong relationships with their teachers and coaches who aren't abusive. It's these people who bystanders will more likely tell what's going on. Especially for a bystander that could easily think that since the bullying isn't technically happening to them, reporting to a counselor is too extreme.

That's why teachers need to know what to do. Instead of "That person just needs to get a tougher skin," "It can't be that bad can it?" they need to respond with "I'm really sorry this is happening. Thanks for telling me. I know it can be hard to come forward about t things like this, and I really respect that fact that you did. Let's think about what we can do about it."

Let's be clear: Beyond the peer pressure not to snitch and adolescent cynicism, adults matter. If our kids see us treat people with dignity, if we are outspoken about our respect for people who come forward, if we are honest with how scary reporting can be but assure them that we will be with them throughout the process, I guarantee our kids will find the courage to speak out.
Source: Rosalind Wiseman, Bully: An Action Plan for Teachers, Parents, and Communities to Combat the Bullying Crisis,

Be a Upstander not just a Bystander

What is the definition of a bully? Someone who, either alone or with the help of others, using actions or words, hurts another person who cannot, because of physical or social reasons, defend herself or himself.

What can I, as an individual, do to stop the bullying in my school? Not laugh at jokes that make fun of other people. Go out of my way to be nice to the person being ostracized.

What can my classmates do as a group to stop bullying in our school? Declare every bully a persona non grata. Everyone wants to be popular. If kids know that teasing or ostracizing a classmate will cause their own popularity to plunge, no one would be willing to pay the social price of picking on others.

A person who bullies isn’t always “the other kid.” Sometimes, it might be… you! Before you say “No way!” think about it. Have you ever heard yourself saying – or thinking – things like:

Do you recognize any of the signs? Kids bully for a lot of reasons. It might be because of:

If you think this might be you, talk with an adult. Seriously, they can help. If the first adult you talk with isn’t helpful, talk to someone else until you find one who will listen. You have that right!

Fess Up when you Mess Up by the Saffire's Original Release Date: November 30, 1989

“Confession is good for the soul.” – Scottish Proverb

Doesn’t that sound wonderful: “Confession is good for the soul.” But how many of us really believe that concept applies to the workplace? If we confess our mistakes, won’t it make us look weak and incompetent to our Boss, our Employees and our Customers? Isn’t it a better tactic to cover up our mistakes or blame them on someone else? I got news for you bunkie: that tactic doesn’t work anymore – if it ever did! Just ask Toyota.

Still need convincing? Here are the primary reasons you need to Fess Up When You Mess Up:

1. It’s just plain wrong to not fess up when you mess up! If you are an ethical person and you want to be perceived as a person with integrity, you have to admit your mistakes and accept the consequences of those incidents.

2. Everybody knows you messed up! Who do you think you’re kidding when you attempt to cover up your mistake or blame someone else for your error? In the Information Age, everyone has access to the information necessary to determine who is responsible for the screw up. And “they” will share that information.

3. You are sending a message that erodes respect and trust! Do you really want your Employees and Boss to assess your character and leadership abilities based on your attempt to avoid accountability or perpetuate a cover up (otherwise known as “lying”)? And what do your actions say to Customers about what constitutes acceptable behavior in your organization?

4. It’s the cover up that will get you! Martha Stewart didn’t do the crime but she went to prison because she attempted to cover up her unethical activities by lying to a federal official – a definite no-no. Her failure to confess/admit her wrong behavior and her attempt to cover it up cost her 5 months in a federal prison camp. What has or can your failure to fess up cost you?

5. There is potential economic value in admitting a mistake! When doctors apologize directly to patients for the harm they caused, malpractice claims and malpractice litigation costs drop by more than 50%. While I don’t know what positive economic impact admitting your mistakes could have on your relationship with your customers and your employees, I do believe not doing so is definitely having a detrimental economic impact through lost sales and Employee turnover.

The Bottom Line: Every one makes mistakes. It is how we deal with those mistakes that matters. Like the ability to delegate, admitting when we’ve made a mistake is a trademark of a good leadership skill set.

Virtual Nanny

Did you know that...

38% of all kids on Facebook are under 13

74% of parents are concerned about their child's safety on Facebook

70% of the kids already had negative experiences on the Internet

Your kids are on Facebook Are you aware of the THREATS your kids are exposed to on social networks? Even if they're careful, many things can go WRONG!

Cyberbullying: Your children might be exposed by their schoolmates or even their own friends to embarrassing or cruel online posts , pictures, threats, harassment, or negative comments.

Child Grooming: Groomers are adults who befriend your children on social networks, luring them and abusing their trust with wrong intentions.

Oversharing: By sharing too much information, your children endanger their reputation and their future. What they post today in good faith could harm them later on.

VirtualNanny helps you react in time to protect your kids!

Instant Email Alerts: Virtual Nanny monitors your child's profile and notifies you immediately when suspicious actives are detected.

User-Friendly Dashboard: All of your child’s social network activity in one place. Directly access all the information you need to keep your child safe.

Sign up now (Note: The Citizens Who Care are not connected with Virtual Nanny in any other way that thinking it's something some of our readers might benefit from. We get no compensation from this organization. - Gordon Clay)


ABC News Primetime What Would You Do? Reacting to Racists and Bullies

ABC News Specials The "In Crowd" and Social Cruelty

Bully (2011): BluRay (has both PG-13 and G rating versions)


Trevor Romain: Bullies are a pain in the brain


*    *    *

Contact Us | Disclaimer | Privacy Statement
Menstuff® Directory
Menstuff® is a registered trademark of Gordon Clay
©1996-2019, Gordon Clay