Bystanders are all of the kids who witness the bullying in action and do not do anything—usually because they do not know what to do, are afraid of retaliation or fear their own group will exclude them for helping an outsider. Most bystanders don’t understand that by doing nothing they are tacitly approving the bully’s behavior.
We know that directly confronting a bully’s behavior can be scary and difficult and, for some, it might be taking too much of a risk. There are things that bystanders can safely do to support the victim:
- Stay at a safe distance and help the target get away
- Don’t laugh or encourage the bully in any way
- Do not provide an “audience” for the bully
- Reach out to him in friendship
- Support the target in private
- Include the target in some of your activities
- Tell an adult
Remember, too, there is strength in numbers. In every school there are more caring kids than there are bullies, so join together and step up and speak out against bullying. Together, you have the power to stop it… but only if you act! When you see someone being bullied and you do something to try and help, you are no longer a bystander—you are an upstander!