An innovative campaign that’s rooted in research to help stop bullying before it starts.

Nationwide, 19% of students in grades 9-12 report being bullied on school property and 15% were bullied electronically during the 12 months prior to being surveyed**.  Youth targeted by bullying behavior are at a higher risk for excessive school absences, poor grades, depression, illness, and alcohol/drug use.

Taking a few minutes to clearly explain expectations for acceptable behaviors on the first day a class meets together will help ensure that teens make smart choices while interacting with their peers.  When everyone knows what is expected of them, individuals can be held accountable for their own actions. 

#Day teaches youth how to speak and act with compassion, empathy, kindness, and respect.  The #Day1 campaign has been used effectively in high schools all over the country as a tool to help turn passive bystanders into active Upstanders, which has the potential to positively impact your entire school community.

Any day can be #Day1 to create a safe classroom environment free of bullying behavior.  You just need to get started….. 

Review the below #Day1 Declaration.  Additional options are available.  Choose the version that is most appropriate for your classroom, school, club or activity based on your students social and emotional level.

Then simply complete the form below to receive a pdf version of the #Day1 Declaration.   

Rehearse the #Day1 declaration before presenting to your students.

Read the #Day1 Declaration on the first day your class or group meets together or on #Day1 of a new beginning when you want to put an end to bullying behavior and begin on a new journey of acceptance, compassion and respect. 

Be sure to personalize the declaration with your school/classroom name in the appropriate spaces.

Receive a verbal acknowledgment of agreement from your students to adhere to the declaration. 

Once you have created a safe respectful community, encourage your individual students to become Upstanders.  Pass out copies of the Upstander Pledge or visit the pledge aloud together. Discuss what it means to them and answer any questions.  Then have students sign the Upstander Pledge, either on the paper or on the website, whichever works best for you.

Reading the declaration is not a one-and-done situation.  But rather it is a baseline for a constant conversation that will be continued throughout the entire year and again the following year. To assist in these conversations an optional component we suggest is to create artwork or illustrations to support Upstander behavior; it could be as simple as posting the Upstander Pledge or #Day1 Declaration in your classroom or school. This will act as a daily visual reminder to your students and other staff members that this is a safe respectful space for everyone, and bullying behavior will not be tolerated here, in this space. 

**Kann L, McManus T, Harris WA, et al. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2017. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Surveillance Summaries. 2018; 67(No. SS-7).

#Day1  Declaration 

At this school, we are committed to creating an academic and social environment that feels safe, inclusive, and respectful to all people– students, staff, and families. We take pride in our school being a safe place for everyone and expect you to share in this school pride. It is our shared responsibility to make our school safe and inclusive for everyone. To do this, I want to make a statement about how you and I are expected to behave here. So, please listen closely and make sure that you understand.

We all have said or done hurtful things to others out of thoughtlessness, lack of awareness, frustration, retaliation, or as a joke. Yet we all know that words or actions can damage someone’s feelings and emotional well-being. This is not acceptable. It is especially important that we not harm others based on any real or perceived difference regarding their race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, appearance, clothing, body shape or size, physical or mental ability, level of wealth, religion or politics, family cultural traditions, food choice or diet, who they love or who their parents love, etc. Even if someone’s difference makes you uncomfortable, we ask that you demonstrate awareness, respect, restraint, and self-control. We ask that you express curiosity for, and acceptance of, our collective diversity.

So let me be very clear: any act of bullying, harassment, or humiliation against another person… student, or adult – online or offline, is against our values. Any cruel words, actions, jokes, or attempts to harm someone, or their reputation, will not be accepted. We should also be careful not to make others feel excluded because of a real or perceived difference. We ask you to think carefully about your words and actions, and how they might make others feel.

Bullying is when an individual targets another person on purpose, sometimes repeatedly. It often includes an imbalance of power. Today, we agree that any act of bullying against another person– student or adult– online or offline, is wrong. If you notice bullying or cyberbullying behavior, don’t remain a passive bystander but intervene as an active Upstander if you feel safe doing so. We also expect you to encourage the target to report, or report on their behalf exactly what you saw and heard to myself, your teachers, or a trusted adult at school. We also expect you to reach out to the person who was being bullied. Ask them if they are OK, make an extra effort to be kind, and tell them you are there to listen. Tell them that they are not alone. If someone disrespects you or others, simply say, “That is disrespectful. Please stop. Here, we treat everyone with respect and kindness”

It is up to all of us here to make sure that everyone feels respected and accepted for who they are. If you notice that someone is feeling alone, sad, angry, or talks in a way as if they might be unsafe to themselves or others, act with kindness and compassion toward them then get help right away from a trusted adult. 

And now I want to ask: does everyone understand what I have said and what we expect of you here? If anyone has any questions, now is the time to ask.

Upstander Pledge

I pledge to not remain a passive bystander but rather be an active Upstander when I witness bullying behavior.

As an Upstander;

I will intervene whenever I see or hear anyone being targeted with bullying behavior; whether I’m at school, at home, at work, or in my faith community; whether I am speaking in digital spaces or out in the real world with friends, family, colleagues or teammates. 

  • I will interrupt the bullying behavior, if it feels safe to do so.  I will intervene respectfully by saying: “please stop!”. 
  • I will report what I saw or heard to a trusted adult or person of authority. I will also encourage the person I saw being bullied to report it, too. 
  • I will reach out to the person who was targeted and let them know that bullying is never OK with me, and ask how I can help or assist them to get the help they need. 

I will choose words and actions that show my respect, kindness, and compassion for all people and always make everyone feel included and safe

I will not speak or act negatively about how another person is different from me; including their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, home language, body shape or size, skin color, ability level, or any other real or perceived difference.  Instead, I will choose to learn about and celebrate what makes them unique, special and precious.  If I hear others speaking or acting negatively because of someone’s differences, I will choose to be an Upstander and speak up.

If I learn in person or online that someone is feeling seriously depressed or potentially suicidal, I will reach out and tell this person, “Your life has value and is important, no matter how you feel at the moment, and no matter what others say or think.”  I will strongly encourage this person to get professional help.

I pledge to be an Upstander!

Download #Day1 Toolkit for Upper Grades

Can we count on you to implement #Day1 in your school? Please complete this form to receive your easy-to-use PDF copy of the #Day1 toolkit. 




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