Be an Upstander, not a Bystander: October is LGBT History Month and Bullying Prevention Month
“LGBT History Month sends an important message to our nation’s teachers, school boards, community leaders, and youth about the vital importance of recognizing and exploring the role of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in American history.”
~George Chauncey, Samuel Knight Professor of American History and Chair of the History Department, Yale University
There is still plenty of work to do, especially in our schools, to increase LGBTQ awareness and make sure all our students feel accepted and safe. 81.9% of students who identify as LGBTQ were bullied in the last year based on their sexual orientation. (National School Climate Survey, 2011).
Peer victimization of all youth was less likely to occur in schools with bullying policies that are inclusive of LGBTQ students. Do your school offer resources you need to support LGBT students in your school building? Check out this article from School Library Journal. Educate yourself so you can make school an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students.
Growing Up-standers, not Bystanders
The most effective tactic to prevent and stop all types of bullying is an appeal to bystanders, those who observe the behavior and recognize that it’s wrong, but say or do nothing, often because they don’t know what to do. Statistics have shown the strong effects of engaging bystanders, giving them language and resources to become an Upstander, to intervene appropriately or ask for assistance for a fellow student when it’s needed. More than half of bullying situations stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied.
Everyone in the school building can and should strive be an Upstander. If students believe they can make a difference, they’re more likely to act, but it’s hardly the student’s responsibility to end bullying. The NEA says that it takes 6 educators to stop bullying and offers toolkits for teachers on their website.
OverDrive has both curricular titles and popular reading to support a culture of inclusion and empathy in the classroom. Check out our school librarian-selected suggestions and let us know if we missed any!