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Be an "upstander" and fight bullying

Kylie Akiyama is a sixth-grader at Gardner Bullis School in Los Altos Hills. Kylie’s teacher, Niki Mitchell, submitted the following sample of Kylie’s work.

Recently I read a short story, written by Ray Bradbury, titled “All Summer in a Day.” This short story began when a young, depressed girl named Margot and the rest of her class sat, staring out of their classroom window, waiting for the sun to come out after seven years of severe and crushing rain.

Margot warmly remembers the sun from five years ago on earth, but a jealous classmate shoves and taunts her while the rest of the class stands by, watching. In the spur of the moment, they all pick her up and shove her into a closet, just as the deafening rain stops, and the sun shines once more on Venus. The students play outside in the sunshine for two hours without a thought toward Margot, until it starts raining again and they suddenly remember her in the closet, missing out on a one-in-a-seven-years’ chance because of their cruelty. In the end, they let Margot out, all of them ashamed and not able to make eye contact with one another.

I think that there should not be such a thing as bullying, and that there should be more upstanders to defy the bullies of this world.

The terms “upstander,” “bystander” and “bully” are used to describe the positions of the people when an occasion like a fight happens.

The upstanders are the people who stand up for someone being bullied. An upstander could defend the person in a conversation or somehow prevent a fight about to happen.

The bystanders are the people who watch as the bullying unfolds. Bystanders don’t intervene – unlike an upstander, they don’t even try to get help from a person of authority like teachers and adults.

Bullies are the people who usually start the fight and do the physical or mental bullying. Bullies can physically hurt someone or taunt and tease them. More often with girls, the bullying they do is mental. Boys are usually more physical, while girls talk behind others’ backs and judge others based on looks and clothes.

In “All Summer in a Day,” there are many instances of obvious bullying. For example, near the beginning of the story, William, the main bully, tells Margot: “Speak when you’re spoken to.” William then rudely shoves her. In that instance, an upstander could have told William that Margot didn’t need to talk to him, or that he was being mean. Plus, the bully accused Margot of lying about the sun coming out, saying, “It was all a joke, wasn’t it? Nothing’s happening today. Is it?”

As he taunts her, the other students are being bystanders and reply to him by laughing and shaking their heads, but not intervening. At this point, an upstander could have stepped up and said he/she believed what Margot said. William continues bullying because no one is standing up for Margot.

William says, “All a joke!” After roughly taking hold of her, he says, “Hey, everyone, let’s put her in a closet before the teacher comes!” An upstander would have stepped in between William and Margot before he had a chance to pick her up.

Another choice for an upstander would be to go and get the teacher so that she could stop the boy from throwing Margot into the closet. After they lock her in a closet, the teacher comes back and asks if everyone is there. The class says “yes” and walks out into the sunlight. If an upstander did not want to get involved when they put Margot in the closet because he or she were scared of being harmed, then he or she could say to the teacher that the rest of the class pushed her into the closet. This way, an upstander would not be in any physical danger but would still notify the teacher about the bullying.

I think that bullies everywhere should realize that what they are doing is wrong. I believe that bullying is horrible and cruel, and everyone should have someone to stand up for them.

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