DOWNLOAD - Bullying Lecture in NY - by Barbara Coloroso

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Breaking the cycle of violence in our homes, schools and communities involve more than merely identifying and stopping the bully. It requires that we examine the why and the how a child becomes a bully or the target of a bully (and sometimes both) as well as the role the bystanders play in perpetuating the cycle. A deadly combination is a bully who gets what he wants from his target, a bullied child who is afraid to tell, bystanders who either watch, participate in the bullying, or look away, and adults who see bullying as teasing, not tormenting, as ‘boys will be boys.’ not the predatory aggression that it is. If this combination of relationships is not radically transformed, we have enough incidences in our recent past to convince us that it is not only the bully who can terrorize our community. Some bullied children, whose cries went unheard, whose pains were ignored, whose oppression went unabated and unrelieved, have struck back with a vengeance and sorrow. Others, who reached what they felt was an utterly hopeless and irretrievable point, have killed themselves. Feeling they had no other way out of the pain and torture heaped on them by their tormentors, no one to turn to, no way to tell, they made a tragic and final exit.
It is easy to point fingers; place blame; fortress our schools; push zero-tolerance plans; mandate a bully awareness week; stiffen penalties for bullying; or simply ignore the problem and hope it will go away. It is more difficult—and necessary—that we as individuals, families, and entire communities create safe harbor for all of our children. We must do what is necessary to take the weapons out of the hearts, minds, and hands of our kids. We need to give kids the tools to be able to stand up for their own rights while respecting the rights and legitimate needs of others; to handle conflicts nonviolently; to act with integrity when confronted with difficult situations such as peer pressure to cause harm; and to develop a personal code (inner moral code) that gives them the wherewithal to do what is right in spite of external consequences and never merely because of them. No easy task; no simple answers.

The Making of a Bully
• A working definition;
• What bullying is not — playful teasing, sibling rivalry,
   fighting that involves equals with competing claims;
• Bullying behaviors — physical aggression, shunning, verbal
   aggression, intimidation and coercion;
• Where, how often, who does it involve.
The Bullied
• A working definition;
• The short and long term impact of bullying on the target of
   the bully;
• When a bullied child becomes a bully.
The Bystander
• A working definition;
• The bystander as sibling, peer or adult and the impact
   being a bystander has on escalating the violence;
• The impact on the cycle of violence when a bystander
   becomes a peacemaker — empowered to act with courage
   and integrity.
Breaking the Cycle of Violence and Creating Circles of Caring
1. How three kinds of families help create bullies, targets of bullies, and
   bystanders, or children who are responsible, resourceful, resilient, compassionate
   human beings, who can act in their own best interest, stand up for themselves,
exercise their own rights while respecting the rights and legitimate needs of
   others, stand against injustices, act with integrity, resist provocation, and resolve
   conflicts peacefully;

2. What to do if your child bullies;
3. What to do if your child is a victim of a bully;
4. Helping children develop a personal code [inner moral
    code] integrating knowing, feeling, and acting;
5. Teaching children to be able to discern the differences
    between telling and tattling;
6. Teaching children to ‘own their anger’ [no one can ‘make’
    them angry], and develop inner tools to resist provocation;
7. Teaching nonviolent conflict resolution — resolving conflict
    rather than escalating it or burying it.

1. Teaching the fourth R: relationships;
2. Creating a school climate in which all kids believe they have worth, are capable
    human beings, are expected to
serve and can resolve conflicts nonviolently;
3. Creating ‘esprit de corps’ — the spirit of devotion and enthusiasm among
    members of a group for one another,
their group, and their purpose;
4. Going beyond values clarification and/or moral reasoning to teach character
    education — the head/heart/gut connection;

5. Using the arts as significant tools to teach character, ethics, and moral reasoning.
    [If we don’t, the entertainment industry will — and the character, ethics and
    moral reasoning it teaches might well cause more damage than good. ‘Instead

    of passionate attachment to what is good, noble and just, youth develop
    passionate attachments to their own needs, wants, and feelings.’]

      a. Creating a community of purpose
      b. Censorship by omission;
6. Why zero tolerance is zero thinking — and a constructive alternative: mistakes,
    mischief, and mayhem in proper perspective to causes, conditions, and 

1. Comprehensive, multi-institutional, community-wide solutions that address the
    violent behavior of young people,
while redressing the social conditions in which
    the violence
2. Anger management programs that work and those that don’t;
3. Reconciliatory justice on a community-wide scale as an alternative to punishment
    and vengeance;

4. The power of forgiveness. If creating more caring, more compassionate, less
    alienating, less violent communities is a
goal, we must give up our desire for
    swift revenge and
retribution, stronger punishments and stiffer sentences. When
    the main goal is to make children ‘pay dearly’ for
what they have done and serve
    as examples for others who
might think of doing the same, hate and bitterness
    find rich
soil in which to grow. How bullies are treated will influence what kind of
    people they will grow up to be and what kind
of lives the rest of us will live. If 
    we don’t help them
reconcile with the community, we could well condemn
    ourselves to a lifetime of fear, distrust, and mayhem. When
an entire community
    is committed to reconciliatory justice,
the young offenders are invited to rise
    above their misdeeds
and violent acts. The goal is to mend and restore rather
    than isolate and punish. The search is not for vengeance but
for ways to heal
    people and heal relationships.



Bullies are using high tech tools to threaten, stalk, ridicule, humiliate, taunt, and spread rumors about their targets.  The characteristics of bullying—imbalance of power, the intent to harm, the threat of further aggression, and the creation of terror—are magnified with the user of electronic technologies.


 Bullies are:

  1. 1.     emboldened by apparent anonymity afforded them in cyberspace
  2. 2.     removed from the immediate reaction of the target,
  3. 3.     far too often not held accountable for their actions.


Faceless and nameless electronic transmissions make it easy for bullies to torment their targets anywhere and at anytime, with apparent anonymity, distributing of irretrievable messages worldwide. Even though most cyberbullying occurs outside of school, it negatively impacts students and the school environment.  It has already led to violence—including murder and bullicide—in schools throughout the world.


The Cyberbullying workshop includes:


•  Cyberbullying:  What it is and what it isn’t

•  Ways and Means of cyberbullying

•  Stop, Copy, Block and Tell:  helping kids protect themselves

•  Decoding the code

•  The consequences of cyberbullying on the three characters in this tragedy

•  Out of sight—not out of mind:  the impact on the school and community         


•  The legal, social, and psychological ramifications of cyberbullying

•  Media:  the good, the bad, the ugly, and the indifferent

•  Links to online resources

•  The Three P’s:  policies, procedures, and programs


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