Fourth graders are working to make Heathcote a "Bully Free Island". We identify bully behaviors (such as gossiping, excluding, and teasing) demonstrated by the shark swimming around our island. We examine the role of the bystander and how a bystander can make the choice to become an "upstander" instead. The bystander stands by and watches, while the upstander takes action to help. It is the upstander who has the greatest power to make a difference in a bullying situation. We read the book "Say Something" by Peggy Moss and discovered that it is not enough to just not join in or not use bully behaviors ourselves. We have a responsibility to do or say something when we see that someone else is the target. Strategies include being a friend to the target, getting help from an adult, telling the person using bully behavior to stop, and of course not joining in the mean behavior. We will also talk about strategies to use when you find yourself as the target and when you are using bully behavior.
As you support your child and encourage them to help others in a difficult situation, acknowledge that the choice to help others is not always easy. Compliment your child when you see them take a stand for what is right. Tell them when similar situations come up in your life and use those moments as models for your child.
Click here to see a poster of Bully Free Island https://youthlight.com/images/bfpost.jpg
Homework: Talk about or write an alternate ending to the Bystander story below.
What should I do?
Story Beginning: When it was time for recess I rushed out of my class and walked up to two of my close friends Natalie and Shayna, in the hallway at their lockers. As I got there I realized that they were making fun of Samantha. They began laughing as I saw Samantha's face turn red and her eyes go to the floor.
First Story Ending: Even though Samantha is not a close friend of mine we did have an after school club together and she has always seemed nice. I felt bad for Samantha - what Natalie and Shayna were doing was wrong. I feel caught... what they are doing is mean but they are my friends and I'm afraid to say anything or they might get mad at me or laugh at me too. I'll just be quiet and hope it will go away.
Second Story Ending: People are always making fun of other people and hurting feelings. I'm so used to it happening; I just ignore it and keep going with my day. Picking on people is normal.
Third Story Ending: I joined in and made fun of Samantha and laughed with Natalie and Shayna. After all, they are my friends and I have to follow Natalie's lead so I will fit in with their group. I wouldn't want them to think I'm not one of them!
What do you think of these story endings? Write or tell your own story ending as an "upstander".