Barnegat School District Launching Upstander Program

Aug 01, 2018

The Barnegat Township School District believes in its students becoming the best versions of themselves, creating a positive community that lifts others up instead of putting them down. It also stresses family togetherness.

Those concepts are combined through a new program for the upcoming school year known as the Upstander initiative. Leah Purpuri, district supervisor of guidance, said that through this program, one altruistic student per school will be recognized monthly at the board of education meetings. These students will be nominated by building administrative and counseling staff.

“The Upstander program gets its name because it is the opposite of a bystander,” said Purpuri. “The bystander sees something, but instead of doing something, he just stands around and does nothing. The upstander will try to do something and help.”

She said deeds rewarded could be anything from standing up for someone who is being bullied, or doing acts of kindness such as opening doors for people.

“The youngsters can show traits such as compassion, trustworthiness, advocacy, integrity and positivity,” she said. “The whole concept is to discourage negative behaviors and also provide a safe environment for learning.”

She said recognized students will get a $50 gift card to a local restaurant.

“Parents will sign a contract to agree to bring their whole family, bringing back the idea of a family dinner and family togetherness,” said Purpuri.

Sponsors will fund six $50 gift cards per month. She said that in compensation for local business participation, the district will honor these businesses on the district homepage ( for their respective sponsoring months.

“These sponsors have the option to include a coupon for their sponsored month, further incentivizing patrons of the school district web page to be patrons of the sponsoring business,” she said.  —E.E.

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