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Are you a Bystander or Upstander

Utah Caring Stories

(ABC4 NEWS – HERRIMAN, UT) Bullying is a fact of life in Utah schools. I was able to sit down with a group of 9th grade students in Herriman that might have something that can help.  

My first question for the group is “what is bullying.” 

Brooke commented; “I think there a lot of forms of bullying that not a lot of people really realize.”

Cason chimed in; “There can be cyberbullying or just physical bullying.”

Charlee added; “It’s everywhere. It’s even at your home. You can’t get away from it. I think that’s what cyberbullying is.”

Bullying is clearly a problem in schools around the country. Charlee Sorenson from Richfield is spreading the word by talking to her peers about a possible solution. 

Charlee introduced me to a new term that was added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2016, “upstander.”  

She told me; “Upstanders are willing to tell people this is wrong, and you should not be doing this.”

There is power in numbers. “When there are 10 people being upstanders versus one person being mean. Do you think they are going to continue doing this when people are saying this is wrong, don’t do this?”, she said.

Jake Jager from Herriman is definitely an upstander. He broke up a fight at this school while bystanders watched.

He told me; “It was crazy. There were so many people. For a second I was like why are you just standing here you know. It’s so wrong. People had their phones out. It even took me a second to get through the crowd to go break up the fight. I feel bad for the girls. everyone is watching them. What are they going to do after they stop fighting? Everybody is going to make fun of them. So, I felt like I needed to step in and stop that. They’re actually pretty cool. I was a little sad.”

What happened next might surprise you. Jake went on the say; “Here’s the crazy part, after I broke up the fight. People were like come on man. A kid actually pushed me against a portable.”

That reaction rattled Jake and had him wondering if he had done the wrong thing. Fortunately, there are upstanders online. Jake’s Mother posted the video and received numerous positive comments about his actions to stop the fight. 

Jake – Thank you for being an upstander.

These stories deserve to be told. These are Utah Caring Stories. I’m Doug Jessop, ABC4 News. 


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