A shout out to The Bully Project for recognizing the need to address the role of the bystander and the importance of promoting upstanders. We agree with their position that although “Bullying Prevention Month might be over… the fight to raise awareness around bullying continues.


Image Source: #AddUpstander – Change.org

Throughout history, in current events, and across playgrounds, when a bystander finds the courage to stand up and speak out for themselves and/or for others, change happens. Being an upstander can be as simple as standing next to a person that is being bullied, refusing to forward a mean-spirited text message or photo, or having the courage to directly confront a bully.

Upstanders can have a huge impact. According to #AddUpstander – Change.org, “Research shows that over 50% of the time, when an upstander intervenes, a bullying situation is stopped in less than 10 seconds. So, imagine how many more upstanders, and how much less bullying there could be if the word was in the dictionary!”

We agree that it is high time Merriam Webster and Oxford English Dictionary add “upstander.” Given that “bystander” has been a recognized word for decades, “upstander” needs to be formally recognized as a word:

Upstander n.  A person who chooses to take positive action in situations where individuals are being harmed or in the face of injustice in society.”


Please join the movement and spread the word to #AddUpstander to the dictionary. We look forward to the day when our spellchecker will no longer put the squiggly red line under “upstander.”

As always, if you have upstander stories to share, please leave them via commenting. We especially welcome stories of students as upstanders. Those are the stories we love to see featured on the Upstanders Not Bystanders VoiceThread.