This week, the 7th graders discussed the bystander effect—defined as a phenomenon in which people fail to offer help in emergencies, especially when other people are present—as they begin learning about the Holocaust in Middle School History Faculty Gigi Bizar’s class.

In one activity, the students participated in “where we stand” scenarios in which they were given situations and asked whether they agreed, disagreed, or were not sure about the hypothetical action taken in response. They also applied the phenomenon to their own lives, considering whether they are responsible for taking action in the case of a student in another grade level and what it means to be in a community.

Bizar focused on helping the 7th graders understand how they can have compassion for those who choose to protect themselves but, at the same time, push themselves to be upstanders and expand the circles of people that they feel obligated to help.