JFS of Metrowest Leads Middle Schoolers in Active Bystander Training

by | Apr 5, 2024 | Middle School, Social Justice, Community

By JFS of Metrowest

Last week, the JFS/Rashi Learning and Leadership Council held a Middle School session on Active Bystander Training. Active bystanders, as defined on the JFS website, “learn how to recognize, safely deescalate, and intervene in potentially dangerous or problematic situations.” JFS CEO Lino Covarubias presented to over 40 Rashi students on what it means to be an effective leader in their community, the importance of providing aid for those in need, and how to discern what type of aid is needed at a particular moment. “I think it’s really important we are taught this. At Rashi, we already learn to be upstanders, and it’s good to know how you can do even more to help,” said seventh grader Ari G. 


Students were divided into five mixed-grade groups to act out active bystander scenarios. “We learned about all the different types of active bystander, and performed skits illustrating each one for the group,” said eighth grader Sophia K. “My group did one where two people were fighting in school, and people walked by without doing anything because they weren’t sure how to react. We were told then that in situations like those, we should seek out a teacher for help.”


“We learned about how there are certain times where you may not think you need to do anything, but that in reality, it benefits everyone when you act,” said eighth grader Levi L. “I learned a lot about how even if I think, ‘oh, it’s not my problem,’ I should still do something to help.”


Levi, whose family became involved with the JFS Syrian resettlement project in 2016, introduced a household item collection drive for incoming Venezuelan families to the U.S. “We’re doing a drive for things the government can’t necessarily give, but that families still need. We’re looking for paper towels, toilet paper, curly hair products, dish soap and cleaning spray,” he explained. The Rashi students will be collecting items and writing notes of comfort to welcome to the newly arriving families.


The JFS/Rashi Learning and Leadership Council, formed in 2022, convenes Rashi Middle School students to strengthen their leadership skills, execute social services programming, and to serve as leaders in Boston Jewish community endeavors and beyond. It is a unique and special partnership that fosters the drive Rashi students possess to repair the world, one drive at a time.