Renowned speaker targets bullying

Barbara Coloroso will be here Nov. 14 at the Vernon Recreation Centre in a presentation hosted by the District Parent Advisory Council.

She has appeared on Oprah, CNN and NPR, and now Barbara Coloroso is bringing her message to Vernon.

An internationally recognized speaker and author in the areas of parenting, teaching, school discipline, positive school climate, bullying, grieving, non-violent conflict resolution and restorative justice, Coloroso will talk about bullying Nov. 14 at the Vernon Recreation Centre in a presentation hosted by the District Parent Advisory Council.

“We are bringing her to town because bullying has been an issue in B.C. schools and in our own district,” said Nicole Makohoniuk, past-president of DPAC and second vice-president of the B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils. “It’s escalating, too, because of Internet bullying.”

The Colorado-based Coloroso will speak on the topic, The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander: Breaking the Cycle of Violence. It’s also the title of one of her five international bestsellers.

On her Web site, she calls it the deadliest combination going: bullies who get what they want from their target, bullied kids who are afraid to tell, bystanders who either watch, participate, or look away, and adults who see the incidents as simply “teasing” and a normal part of childhood.

She said thousands of children go to school every day filled with fear; others feign illness to avoid being taunted at school.

“Our children are counting on us to provide two things: consistency and structure,” she said. “Children need parents who say what they mean, mean what they say, and do what they say they are going to do.”

Makohoniuk said the topic ties in nicely with the Ministry of Education’s ERASE Bullying initiative, which stresses that every child deserves an education free from discrimination, bullying, harassment, intimidation and violence.

“What I have found is that parents need to be friends with their children on Facebook, on Twitter, on any social media site, so you can see what they are doing,” she said.

According to the ERASE Bullying Web site, about 88 per cent of bullying takes place in the presence of youth other than the bully and the victim.

“Kids will usually only bully if they have an audience, it’s a way of seeking attention,” said Makohoniuk. “There are strategies to catch the bully before they bully.

“But one thing is that the parents, the community and the schools have to work together.”

Coloroso’s talk takes place Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Vernon Recreation Complex auditorium. Tickets are $7 each, available at schools throughout the Vernon School District, at the door or by e-mailing