At our school, we’ve been thinking a lot about how people who stand up for justice in great or small ways can be considered upstanders.  Unlike bystanders, who do nothing to stop an injustice, upstanders can have a positive impact on events, past, present, and future.  Below find a series of student descriptions of upstanders they admire.  This project has roots in a district project on Voice Threads, called Upstanders, Not Bystanders.  Here’s a sample of our upstander stories:


During my mom’s high school year of being a cheerleader, everyone thought she would be mean.  After stopping this guy from bullying one of her friends, everyone noticed she was a nice person.  They also found out she’s caring.  My mom would always stand up for her friends and even those who weren’t her friends.

~ Alexis

The person who I consider an “upstander” would have to be Rosa Parks because she stood up for something that everyone else was scared to do.  Rosa went on the bus one day, and she was told to sit in the back of the bus (because she was African American).  She stood up to [the bus driver].  The consequence was getting thrown off the bus and [getting arrested].  She never gave up on anything she stuck her mind to.  She was standing up for something right; equality.  Rosa Parks stood up that day and spoke out to show that even though she was black, she had a voice and well… she used it.  This is why Rosa Parks is an “upstander”.  She spoke out and wasn’t afraid of the consequence.

~ Trinity

When I hear the world, upstander, my best friend, Colby, comes to my head.  The reason I think Colby is a person who stands up for others is because he’s very respectful.  Now, what I mean by this is that he never leaves you out.  Say you are playing a game of football, and nobody picks you.  He would be the person to say, “Hey, come over on this team.”  The first time I met Colby was in 2013  in the Jr. Wildcats football camp.  At first, I thought he was just a teammate I would never get to know, but that all changed because of who he is. At the end of the camp, we would do relays.  Colby was one of the captains.  There were only two kids left to pick, and I was one of them.  I thought that I wasn’t going to get picked, but Colby picked me. If he hadn’t, I don’t think we would have talked.  After two years, we are basically like brothers.  We fight, we argue, we make-up, we hang, and the best thing is…we got each other’s back.  P.S.  We won the race.  🙂

~ Xavier

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5 thoughts on “Upstanders

  1. I really liked this article because it gives me hope. There are good people in the world and all it takes is one good person to make the world a better place. I like how there were experiences from people and it made the article more relatable.

  2. I really enjoyed reading this article because it shows that there is still good in this world when there is so much conflict going on right now. I learned about upstanders that people think of and how they affect the world in a good way. What encouraged your mom to stand up for her friends?

    • I wonder that, too, Isabella. What makes some people confident enough to stand up to bullies? I wonder if there is someone in your life that you think of as an upstander.

  3. This shows me the difference between bystander and upstander. Upstander people are nice and it makes you feel good and happy. It shows people that there are good people. Bystander is fine, but its good to by upstander.

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