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A Program of the Holocaust Center

The UpStanders Program is a bullying prevention initiative of the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center. Rooted in Holocaust Education, the UpStanders Program challenges students to study one of the world’s paramount examples of prejudice in order to understand the role each of us plays in shaping a better future.

About UpStanders

The UpStanders program demonstrates the importance of standing up and speaking out when students witness bullying through stories of Holocaust Rescuers. A “rescuer” is an individual who did everything in their power to save the lives of those being persecuted during the Holocaust. The UpStanders Program teaches students how to safely and effectively support their peers who are being mistreated. Once students understand the importance of being UpStanders rather than bystanders, they have the knowledge they need to make their school a safe and respectful place.

The UpStanders Program is professionally evaluated every school year using climate surveys and focus groups. Program lessons align with Florida Standards in 6th grade social studies and language arts as well as 7th grade civics and language arts. Since its inception in 2010, the UpStanders Program has been provided to more than 25,000 students in 68 schools, located in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, and Brevard counties.

Upstanders Newsletter

Learn How You Can Prevent Bullying

UpStanders For Educators

UpStanders For Parents

UpStanders For Students

Program Phases

Pre-planning: The Holocaust Center will meet with school representatives prior to the start of the program to establish goals and review the baseline survey.  The survey will be sent out by the school, completed by students anonymously and results will be tabulated by the Holocaust Center.  At no time will results be shared with anyone but the school contacts.  This will establish measurement points to be evaluated throughout the program.  


Year 1: (6th Grade) 

Meaning Behind Words & Symbols:  Students will be introduced to how words and symbols were used by the Nazis to influence communication and create a negative, anti-Jewish culture.  These concepts will be related to concerns about bullying today.  


Field Trip to Holocaust Center:  Students are introduced to Holocaust history in a way that leads to an investigation of human behavior and an understanding of what it means to be a responsible citizen. They also explore how bias can escalate into violence and discover the power of speaking out against bullying. Due to current public health concerns, a virtual field trip experience will be offered. 


Transforming Bystanders to UpStanders:  Students are given a toolkit for how to recognize bullying and learn safe ways to intervene in bullying situations. The key to empowering students is transforming bystander behavior into ‘UpStander‘ behavior.  


Year 2: (7th Grade) 

Adopting Rescuer Character Traits:  Thousands of lives were saved during the Holocaust because of rescuers who were willing to take risks to protect their friends and neighbors. This presentation reviews their traits to help students see these characteristics within themselves. Students will be challenged to reflect on the qualities and achievements of rescuers from the Holocaust while comparing them to rescuers throughout history and today. 


Speaker Presentation:  Under normal circumstances, a renowned speaker is brought in to engage with the students in an assembly style (full grade level) presentation.  The speaker focuses on their personal testimony regarding their own experiences with being different, bullying, and the importance of UpStander behavior.  Due to current public health concerns, the same message will be delivered, but without the physical assembly component.   


*All in-classroom session can be arranged in person or virtually. 


Additional Programs: 


Upon request, the Holocaust Center can provide additional resources including teacher trainings, Prejudice Reduction and Education Program (PREP) to individually tailor education programs for young people who have been involved in hate crimes or other incidents involving prejudice, a parent/guardian newsletter, and enrichment activities for after students complete the two year program. 

Our gratitude to all who make the UpStanders program available to students in our community including: 

The Holocaust Center is thankful for the generous support of our partners:

What is Bullying?

Bullying involves an unwanted, aggressive behavior that is repeated over time and suggests an imbalance of power. The imbalance of power means that the person being bullied is unable to defend him or herself.  Bullying behavior can be physical, social, or emotional. Cyberbullying takes place online or with the use of technology.  Common examples of bullying behavior include:

  • Physical intimidation
  • Spreading rumors
  • Cruel text messages
  • Negative images posted online


The bullying prevention law of Florida , the “Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act,” states that bullying or harassment of any student or employee of a public K-12 educational institution is prohibited. Each school district is required to adopt a policy prohibiting bullying or harassment.

Refer to Stop Bullying more information about bullying.

Become an UpStander School

We are always looking for schools to join us in our efforts to create a community free of bullying. If you would like more information about bringing the UpStanders Program to your school, please submit your interest to the UpStanders Program Coordinator.

Please complete the form below to schedule the UpStanders lesson.  We will call you shortly to review the request and confirm the scheduling.

Upstanders School Request

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