NOVA teaches students how to be upstanders

Bristol Township School District  |  Posted on

Dori Dugan, prevention educator at NOVA, teaches students how they can help prevent bullying.

Rather than being bystanders, students can put a stop to bullying by being upstanders – students who speak up and intervene on behalf of someone being bullied. NOVA (Network of Victim Assistance) brought its Interpersonal Relationship Prevention Program to Neil A. Armstrong Middle School earlier this month.

“Spending this time at Armstrong Middle School means that I have had the pleasure of standing up yet again talking about the prevention of bullying,” said Dori Dugan, prevention educator at NOVA.

The program promoted positive attitudes and actions that create a caring environment. Through interactive activities and videos, students learned new skills when it comes to bullying behaviors and how to be upstanders.

“The reason I’m here is to encourage those people who may not be the people bullying, may not necessarily be the victims, but they’re in the golden middle,” said Dugan. “In that golden middle is the opportunity as an upstander to stand up for people who might need help.”

One way to be an upstander, rather than a bystander, is to use the 3 “D” model, which includes direct intervention, distractions and/or delegate to an adult.

NOVA representatives explained to students that others may engage in bullying to feel powerful and in control of a situation. If students have trouble learning and focusing in school, they may lack a sense of control, which they may direct outward through aggressive acts. Teaching empathy and giving them the tools to prevent bullying can help decrease bullying behaviors.

“Our Armstrong community is always so appreciative of NOVA and the services they provide our school and community,” said Steve Pierce, school counselor at Armstrong. “Bully prevention is such an important topic and NOVA’s presentation reminds us of this with their proactive messages.”