Thursday, September 13, 2012

Book Review: Stand Up

Stand Up is a bullying prevention book, written by Lisa Roth, M.D. and Karen Siris, Ed.D that presents an incredibly effective new way to think about bullying prevention - focusing attention of the actions of those who witness hurtful acts occurring.

While there has been some focus on the role of "bystanders" (a term I do not like because it sometimes implies "standing by" and doing nothing), there has not been all that much focus on what students can effectively do if they witness these hurtful situations. In fact, there also only been limited research in this area. But from this research, we are beginning to understand that two of the critical personal factors to encouraging students to intervene are a sense of personal responsibility for the well-being of others and social self-efficacy, in other words knowing what to do that would be safe and effective. Another very critical factor is the perception of peer norms -- the recognition that the vast majority of students do not like to see bullying occur and really look up to those who positively intervene.

In this regard, Stand Up has hit the "bull's eye" in target for effective bullying prevention at the elementary school level. The story involves a young student who witnesses and is concerned about the bullying he sees. As he is trying to figure out what to do, he notices that some other students were being helpful to students. So he pulls together a "summit" meeting on the monkey bars to bring together the students who do care to create a Caring Majority - "We are a group of kids that care." They plot a strategy to eat lunch with the girl who is being bullied (reaching out to be kind and inclusive). When the student who was being hurtful says something mean, they tell  him to "Stop"
(saying stop) and essentially take his power away. The next day the boy who was being hurtful apologizes - so the result is not getting rid of the student engaged in bullying, but a focus on making things right and restoration.

This incredibly powerful book features an approach to bullying prevention that Karen Siris, an elementary principal, has been using in her school, called the Caring Majority. The book includes a teacher's guide that is essentially a bullying prevention manual. This book is available through Amazon.

Review written by Nancy Willard, M.S., J.D., author of Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats (Research Press) and creator of a new bullying prevention program directed at middle and high school students, called Be a Friend ~ Lend a Hand (

Nancy Willard, M.S., J.D.
Embrace Civility (a program of Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use)

Author of:
Cyber Savvy: Embracing Digital Safety and Civility (2011, Corwin Press) Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats: Responding to the Challenge of Online Social Cruelty, Threats, and Distress (2007, Research Press) Cyber Safe Kids, Cyber Savvy Teens: Helping Young People Learn to Use the Internet in a Safe and responsible Manner (2007, Jossey Bass)

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