RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Author Barbara Coloroso believes that the cycle of violence in today’s schools can be broken.

A former teacher and author of three books on such topics as parenting, teaching and non-violent conflict resolution, Coloroso presented a one-day lecture on her latest book, “The Bully, the Bullied and the Bystander,” to a group of about 200 teachers, parents and students Friday at Ramstein High School.

Bullying does not come naturally, said Coloroso, who is from Littleton, Colo., where the Columbine High School tragedy occurred in 1999. She explained that it is a learned behavior.

“We are devastated by the final act of violence but rarely outraged by the events that led to that final act,” Coloroso read from the book. “If it can be learned, it can be examined and it can be changed.”

As a teacher for more than 30 years, Coloroso has devoted much of her work to special needs children, many who have been targeted by bullies. She said her book, however, was not prompted by the tragedy at Columbine High School when two students went on a killing spree, slaying 12 students and one teacher before committing suicide.

“It certainly came to the front for a lot of people that there was a problem after the Columbine massacre,” Coloroso said. “But, those of us who have been in the field have seen suicide; we’ve seen kids turning out in rage and against other people. This [particular incident] just happened to hit the news.”

During her lecture, Coloroso offered ways for parents and teachers to identify the signs of bullying, not to “target the target” and how to teach children to react if they are bullied or witness others who are bullied.

“Since it happens under the radar of adults so often, it’s the kids who can say, ‘Enough already. We’re not going to tolerate this,’” Coloroso said.

Raising children to act with civility, integrity and compassion will compel them to take a stand when a peer is taunted and also prevent them from becoming bullies themselves, she said.

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