Bully Bystander Activities

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Part of learning about bullying is learning what to do when you witness it. This lesson will help students understand what it is to be a bystander and practice standing up against bullying.

Learning What a Bystander Is

Over the course of their growth and education, most students start to become familiar with the concept of bullying. Bullying is understood as the targeted persecution of a person or group of people who have less power than the bully does in a social situation. It is important for students to learn that they should not bully others, but it is also important for them to understand what it means to stand up to a bully when they see one in action.

This lesson focuses on activities that teach students about the concept of being a 'bystander,' or someone who witnesses bullying in action. Students will learn about what it feels like to be a bystander as well as what a bystander can do to stand up for what is right.

Activities for Early Elementary School

These activities are well suited to students in grades K-2, who are coming to understand what it means to behave kindly in different situations.


Read your class a picture book that contains teasing or bullying. Some great examples for this age include:

  • Willow Finds a Way, by Lana Button
  • Oliver Button is a Sissy, by Tomie de Paola
  • Ben Rides On, by Matt Davies
  • Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes

After you read the book to your students, lead them in a discussion about the following questions: Who was treated badly in this book? Who treated them badly? Who else saw what was happening and did something or could have done something? Use the final question to introduce students to the concept of the bystander.

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