Stepping Up - Saying "I do" to respecting all people and "I don't" to cyberbullying and unkind online behaviors.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." ~ Margaret Mead

“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.” ~ Albert Einstein

What does it mean to be an upstander? Please step up to our global microphone and speak out!

We invite you to contribute your stories - and your voice - to the Upstanders, Not Bystanders VoiceThread. Please add to the "thread" by sharing about someone who has made a difference in your life, in your community, or in the world by having the courage to cross the line from bystander to upstander. We've included separate slides for elementary, middle, and high school students, plus adults (1st slide), but everyone is welcome to respond to others' comments across grade levels and generations.

For a full-size version of this VoiceThread, click here.

Note: Once you register with VoiceThread for a free account (a process that takes only a couple of minutes), you will be able to post a comment via voice, text, or webcam. Your comment will go "live" as soon as we approve it.

NEWS FLASH: For teachers who would like to integrate the Upstanders, Not Bystanders VoiceThread into a Common Core Standards-aligned lesson, Common Sense Media is now hosting our complete Upstanders, Not Bystanders lesson plan on their Graphite site.

Thanks to our growing partnerships and collaborations with others, here are some more great participating and publishing opportunities for you:
  • Upstanders Not Bystanders - Digital ID joins the California Writing Project and Common Sense Media in inviting students in grades K-University to step up to a call to action and share your digital stories - via a digital genre of your choice - on what it means to be an upstander.
  • Upstanders Together - This collaborative project from GCTs (Google Certified Teachers) is an invitation to students in grades K-12 to combine an image and no more that 25 words to create a digital slide that illustrates what it means to be an upstander. Visit our Student-Created Content page to see some sample digital slide stories.
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Student Voices

  • Gr 4-6 Student Voices: Here are some compelling insights from students in grades 4-6 reflecting on cyberbullying
  • From Natalie Bernasconi's 8th graders, a few shared stories of everyday heroes -
  • Gallery of Heroes presentation - to give you an overview of what Stepping Up looks like in the 8th grade ELA curriculum.
  • Invisible Hearts Project - A group of Australian students whose mission is to try and leverage social media to raise awareness to the issue of cyber bullying in society. You are invited to take part in our video/project, please take a picture of yourself making 'heart hands.'
  • I'm American Too: A story from behind fences- The forced relocation of thousands of Japanese-Americans from the West Coast during World War II represents the greatest violation of rights guaranteed to all citizens by the U..S. Constitution. This injustice stands as a reminder of the need to stand up and speak out. Students at several California school sites have created projects to document a chapter of history that happened in their communities during the war years:
  • #UnfollowBullying - If you are looking for ideas on how to start a student-led campaign on cyberbullying, check out what middle and high school students in the Elk Grove School District have put together. Their campaign launched in 2012 with each site sponsoring events to promote and support students in stepping up and taking a stand against cyberbullying.

General Resources

"Cyberbullying" is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones." Wired Kids

Teacher Notes

Cyberbullying Research:

Stand Alone Curriculum
Common Sense Media: Digital Literacy and Citizenship Classroom Curriculum - Excellent selection of lessons, such as the one below, and resources for educators and parents.
  • Connected Culture - What's Cyberbullying?
    Essential Question: What is cyberbullying, and how do you deal with it?

Common Sense Media has also created Lesson Alignment Charts with Common Core State Standards.

New York Times Learning Network - Site includes resources and lessons - More for middle and high school students.
Netsmartz' Real-Life Stories - Powerful stories shared in short videoclips - with accompanying activity cards. Some videos are available in both English and Spanish.

Curriculum Connections: For lessons woven into the core curriculum around a theme of stepping up, visit our Curriculum Collaborations page.

Parent Resources

Resources and Support for LGBTQ Youth

In light of the many senseless, tragic suicides like Leelah Alcorn's and other LGBTQ youths as a result of bullying / cyberbullying, we felt it was past due to dedicate a section of Resources and Support that reaches out to these vulnerable young people the world over. We want to let them know they are not alone, and yes, It Gets Better!

A conversation starter - When Did You Choose to be Straight? Street interviews conducted by Travis Nuckolls and Chris Baker in Colorado Springs prove that asking the right question can be more important than anything you can tell someone.

We warmly invite you to contribute to the Messages of Hope VoiceThread, initiated by students at Alisal High School and dedicated to LGBTQ youth. It is our hope that the messages shared on this VoiceThread by teens for teens, as well as from LGBTQ adults, and adult and teen allies will empower youth to stand strong against homophobic bullying, and to be proud to Be Yourself.

We will continue adding resources in the days, weeks, and months to come. If you have any links you recommend we add to the list below, please email us at


GLSEN Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network is proud to support student organizers in schools across the country. As a student, you have the power to make change in many ways in your school and community.

The GLSEN Jump-Start Guide
This resource is for new and already-established Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) or similar clubs. Learn how to establish or re-establish your group, identify your mission and goals, and assess your school's climate. Jump Start your school and your GSA to create safer schools for all.

The It Gets Better Project was founded in September, 2010 after the initial It Gets Better video was posted on YouTube, igniting a worldwide phenomenon. That first video offered a needed message of hope to lesbian, gay, bisexualand transgender (LGBT) youth. It urged young people to stay true to themselves even through the bullying and other challenges that confronted them in their adolescent years. It described the positive future they could experience as adults.The message was simple: that no matter how difficult things may be, it gets better.

Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.

Founded in 1972 with the simple act of a mother publicly supporting her gay son, PFLAG is the nation's largest family and ally organization. Uniting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) with families, friends, and allies, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality and full societal affirmation of LGBTQ people through its threefold mission of support, education, and advocacy.


As the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, the Human Rights Campaign represents a force of more than 1.5 million members and supporters nationwide. HRC envisions a world where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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GLAAD (Gays & Lesbians Alliance Against Defamation) rewrites the script for LGBT acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love.

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GLADD - I #GotYourBack Campaign -

Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA Network) is a next-generation LGBTQ racial and gender justice organization that empowers and trains queer, trans and allied youth leaders to advocate, organize, and mobilize an intersectional movement for safer schools and healthier communities. GSA’s work with students focuses on leadership development and activism that prioritizes building alliances not only across sexual orientation and gender identity lines, but also across race, ethnicity, and class lines, and our resources and trainings are designed to facilitate coalition building.

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ACLU - American Civil Liberties Union
Know Your Rights! A Guide for LGBT High School Students

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students face discrimination and harassment at school all too often. Unfortunately, many school officials know very little about how the law requires them to protect LGBT students.


YouthResource is a website created by and for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (GLBTQ) young people.

LGBTQ Resources for Teachers & Parents


Advocates for Youth (AFY): GLBTQ Resources for Professionals


Understanding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Groundspark - Igniting Change Through Film

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Contact us at
This invitation for students to stand up and speak out through digital writing is also aligned to the 2013 event sponsored by __Common Sense Media__ and the __California Writing Project__: __//Upstanders, Not Bystanders - A Call to Write, Call to Action, Call to Go Public//__ and the __Digital ID project’s__ ongoing call to students for __Stepping Up__, creating, and sharing content on issues of digital citizenship. Therefore, in addition to publishing your students’ one-slide stories on the __//Upstanders Together!//__ __website__, you have the additional option to submit their stories to two more online venues. It is our hope that these multiple alignments and opportunities to write for national and international audiences will promote empathy and build global digital citizenship skills.