Beat Bullying: Meet the 'Upstanders'

Beat Bullying: Meet the 'Upstanders'
Stop bullying. Robin Webb leads this group of Upstanders at Elm Grove Elementary to stand up to bullying.
Stop bullying. Robin Webb leads this group of Upstanders at Elm Grove Elementary to stand up to bullying.

BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - In Robin Webb's 5th grade reading class at Elm Grove Elementary school, today's lesson is about life and how we treat each other.

12 children, who had been the victims of bullying, meet in Webb's class twice a month to find out how to stand up to bullies.

They are members of a club and call themselves "Upstanders."  Their motto: "Be an upstander not a bystander."

"It (the club) helps me know that I have other members that will help me if I am being bullied," said 9-year old Mathew Tompkins.

Webb uses material from to put together real world lesson plans that allow the children to take part in the discussions.

This club builds confidence and gives the children a voice. And it is very personal for the kids and their teacher.  "I started it (the club) because my son was bullied in school," said Webb.

Webb's son Orrin is now an Army soldier, but Webb remembers the pain he endured as a child. It's the same pain many children suffer from today.

"I had said to myself. 'I have to do something,'" said Webb. That is how this club became Webb's passion to protect. "You don't have to believe everything someone says about you have a right to come to school and be safe and enjoy yourself at school and so do others."

10-year-old Sydney Loux is also a member of the Upstanders Club. Her older sister Kaitlin took her life last year after years of being tormented by other students, according to her parents.

Loux believes being an Upstander is her way of doing something valuable in memory of her sister. "I know that people are trying to fix bullying and make it stop so that other kids won't have to go through all of that."

It is a start, but imagine if this one little group of Upstanders grew and the message began to spread.

"If a kid is being bullied and now they have five or ten people or one person or two people then they don't feel so alone and it empowers them," said Webb. "The more that we have that stand up, the less likely that you will be bullied or that others will be bullied."

If you would like to know more about the Upstanders program, contact Robin Webb at Robin.Webb@BossierSchools.Org

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