This song does a great job of illustrating the bystander effect and some other social psychology principles. The themes of in-groups and out-groups pops up just before the part that demonstrates the bystander effect.
It was after school in the afternoon
The corridors were crowded as we came out of the rooms
Three guys I knew pushed him into the cement
Threw away his bag and said he had no friends
He yelled that he did and he looked around
Tried getting up but they pushed him on down
That’s when he saw me, called out my name
And I turned my back, and just walked away
I was young and caught in the crowd
I didn’t know then what I know now
I was dumb, and I was proud
And I’m sorry
If I could go back do it again
I’d be someone you could call friend
Please please believe that I’m sorry
Please please believe that I’m sorry!
When this song is shared in the classroom most students will pick up on the bystander apathy and the in-group and out-group themes. The teacher, however, might ask the class why this woman would write this song years later. I would argue that as the years have passed the writer experienced cognitive dissonance, knowing that what she did and what she should have done did not match. This imbalance of thoughts and actions may have lead to years of guilty feelings, and lead to the writing of this song. (The teacher may then field ideas as to how writing this song may have helped her deal with her dissonance, or whether apologizing is enough to reduce dissonance, since apologizing isn’t necessarily the same as justifying.) Perhaps a discussion of catharsis could begin, and if Freudian theory hasn’t yet been introduced, the teacher could use this as a time to expose students to the theory of catharsis. Then when catharsis is brought up later in the year, the students can be reminded of this song and it may lead to a decent classroom discussion.