September is Upstander Awareness Month at AISG and together as a community, we raised awareness about bullying and how to be an upstander. Research shows that taking proactive steps to address bullying helps reduce occurrences of it in school. Across our campuses, discussions and demonstrations took place to give our students the tools they need to be an upstander, not a bystander.
Last Friday, students and teachers wore orange in support of Upstanders. Temporary tattoos were also given out and students had fun showing off how proud they are to support anti-bullying. Schoolwide, students attended assemblies to learn about how to stand up for their peers in different situations. Banners were placed around the campus during the month as a reminder of how to be an upstander and support each other.
In Elementary, students from Kindergarten through Grade 5 watched three video lessons on how to recognize, refuse, and report bullying behaviors as well as how to create change in a bullying situation. Students discussed the importance of taking action and practiced using a strong, clear voice to stand up for someone who needs to feel safe.
At the beginning of the month, AISG Elementary School hosted a parent coffee about the topic of Upstanders. This gave us an opportunity to talk to parents about bullying and discuss ways that parents can help in situations where their children need help.
In Secondary, students signed the Upstander Pledge on the wall, with pledges from the WITH US Center for Bystander Intervention. Students pledged to uphold values such as ‘I will trust my instincts and have the courage to help others’ and ‘I will speak out for others and hold my peers accountable’.
Our Dean of Students, Peter Burnside, says “Being an upstander means having the courage to take action and do what's right, even if it's unpopular. We will continue working with students throughout the year on ways to speak up and stand up for what's right, and ways to comfort victims of unkind words or actions.”
At AISG, we take child safety very seriously. We want our students to be able to take the skills they have learned this month and apply it to situations in their future. We will continue to educate our community to support each other, stay connected, and to be upstanders, not bystanders.