Featured Organization:       Quabbin Mediation

 Featured Program:               Teaching Active Bystanders

 Organization Established:   1995

 Executive Director:               Sharon Tracy


Earlier this week, Sharon Tracy was gracious enough to have me up to her office in Orange, Massachusetts.  Sharon and I spoke about all of the programs offered at Quabbin (http://www.quabbinmediation.org/); however, I wanted to feature the TAB program (brochure attached), in particular, on our group site.


Training Active Bystanders, TAB for short, is a program which empowers bystanders to take positive action.  While Quabbin has been working with youth in the local school districts for many years, it partnered with Ervin Staub, Ph.D., to create the TAB curriculum, as well as the local police department, after some recent events.  What sparked work on this project was an act of violence that shocked the community:  a student was beaten to death while several students looked on.  Almost at the same time, a study was released that named the North Quabbin region as having exceptionally high rates of violence and other risks factors.  It was with these facts that Quabbin set out to curtail these issues of violence.


The TAB curriculum consists of a six-part curriculum which is usually taught to students during health class.  From the site: 


The TAB training includes:

  • What inhibits bystanders from acting;
  • What promoted positive bystander behavior;
  • Competence.  The ability to have a positive influence, avoid harm to oneself and others;
  • Safe, non-confrontational strategies for intervention;
  • Promote caring for people both within and beyond one’s own group;
  • Promote the inclination to help others, and the moral courage to speak or act on behalf of positive values in the face of potential opposition; and
  • Interactive exercises and activities wherein students discuss, brainstorm and role play bystander responses to varied situations. 

The curriculum is taught by another trained student (part of the Students Teaching Students Program, also offered by Quabbin (http://www.quabbinmediation.org/html/training.html) and a community member (typically a local police officer). 


In an effort to form a solid curriculum, Quabbin evaluated the effectiveness of TAB.  From the site and brochure: 

  • Targets and witnesses reported a significant decrease in harmdoing and violence in TAB schools as compared to control schools, a 20% difference;
  • Trainees exhibited a significant increase in the use of new terminology and in identifying actions they could take as active bystanders;
  • Student trainers exhibited behavior shifts, demonstrating active bystandership and utilizing TAB language and techniques in peer and family contexts;
  • Police engage positively with the community’s children; and
  • Truancy is down.


Quabbin invites you to read more about the TAB program here:


You can view the full evaluation of the TAB program here:


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