Learning how to be an Upstander vs a Bystander!

Years and years ago, there was a woman by the name of Kitty Genovese who, during an attack,
screamed out in the streets of New York for help. She screamed and screamed until she died.
When police went around the area to conduct interviews, they realized that 38 people had
heard her screams and that the majority of them had thought someone else would respond
and call the police. We realized then that there is “bystander” effect and that we frequently
don’t take responsibility for intervening when others are present.
Whilst being a bystander is often our initial response, it doesn’t have to be our final response.
We can choose to be “upstanders” instead! An “upstander” is someone who recognizes that
what is happening is wrong and chooses to do something about it.

We watched a short “What Would You Do” video. In this video, two kids start teasing a girl with Tourette’s Syndrome (all three are actors), and the TV show captures people’s “upstanding” responses to the situation (check out the youtube link on the slideshow!).
Next, Grade 5 students gathered up in a circle. We played a game in which we gave our own unique “upstander” responses to certain situations.

At the end, through a visual of walking over a caterpillar or stepping on a caterpillar, I talked about how my actions have everything to do with ME, and very little to do with the character of the caterpillar.
If I’m the type of person to step over the caterpillar or step on the caterpillar, this has everything to do with ME and my character.
On the same note, if someone “steps” on me through unkind words or actions, this is a reflection of who THEY are, not who I am.
If you’d like to know what videos students watched and what activities they did, take a look at
the presentation below!

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