Standing Up to Bullies

Level: Upper Elementary, Middle School, High School, College, Adult organizations

Purpose: To introduce and define the terms victim, bully, bystander, and ally. To identify ways to take action against bullying at all levels.   


WARM UP: Introduce these facts about bullying:

Bullying has no age limit - A 2004 study of 1025 college students reported that 24.7% had seen students bully other students.

Bullying happens all the time - ABC News found that in November 2007, 15% of high school students and 23% of elementary students reported one to three bullying incidents during that month.

It can happen to you - The National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center in 2008 reports that almost 30% of US youth, grades 6 to 10, are estimated to be involved in bullying as either a bully or a target of bullying, or both.

Bullies need help - A 35 year longitudinal study by E. Eron, a psychologist at the University of Michigan, found that children named as bullies at age 8 by their classmates as adults had more court convictions, more, more anti-social behaviors, more mental health problems, and more alcoholism.


1. Have students act out the anti-bully role plays. On chart paper have students describe the characteristics of each character. Ask then to think about:: Who behaved the way you would have in this situation? Then introduce these terms, if they haven't already been generated - bully, victim, bystander, ally - and match them to the characters. Ask: Who made the most difference in solving the problem? Ask: What else might the ally have done? How could the bystander have helped?

2. Brainstorm a list of possible behaviors.

3. Hand out the Anti-Bully Actions worksheet and compare the students' ideas to the ones listed. As a group decide which proactive ones the class/organization could do now and make plans to do so. See Taking Action for one way to do this.

4. Consider actions they might take if they witness bullying happening in their school or community. Have students write role plays showing these actions in practice. If desired, perform the plays for other classes.


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