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Review of "The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander"

By Barbara Coloroso
HarperResource, 2003
Review by Barry McNamara, Ph.D. on Jan 24th 2005
The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander

The Bully, The Bullied and The Bystander by Barbara Coloroso is one of the many books that have been published recently on this topic.  There has been an increased interest in bullying and parents and schools are struggling to find effective ways to reduce the incidence.  On one hand, there are those who think that bullying is a normal rite of childhood that has always been around and causes little harm.  On the other hand there are those who feel that there is a tremendous cost to pay unless we stem the tide as soon as possible.  Clearly, this book addresses the latter group.  It is clearly written with compelling accounts of bullying throughout.  It is reader friendly and is geared toward a general population of parents.  The subtitle of the book is: From Preschool to High School  -- How Parents and Teachers Can Help Break the Cycle of Violence is somewhat misleading because it provides very little help for teachers in developing and implementing a anti-bullying program in their schools.

The book is divided into two parts.  Part One: The Bully, the Bullied and the Bystander provides the reader with excellent descriptions of each of these roles, with pointed vignettes that reinforce the topic and enhance the descriptions.  Part Two: Breaking the Cycle of Violence: Creating Circles of Caring provides parents with ways in which they can create a climate of kind and caring behavior at home and ways that will reduce the probability that their children will be bullied.  The author correctly notes that bullying occurs most often in the school setting.  Yet this is where the book falls short.  While Coloroso addresses the problem in the schools and provides examples of exemplary programs, there is simply insufficient information regarding the specifics (only one chapter).  Perhaps that is not the primary purpose of this book.  However, if that is the case then teachers should be deleted from the title.

Bullying will not go away by itself.  Families and schools need to develop programs to ensure that all children can attend school in a safe, kind, and caring environment.  The Bully, The Bullied and The Bystander will help parents in this process; school personnel will need to seek additional resources.


© 2005 Barry McNamara


Dr. Barry McNamara is a Professor of Special Education at Dowling College, NY, and is author of several books, including Keys to Parenting a Child With Attention Deficit Disorders and Keys to Dealing With Bullies, both coauthored with Francine McNamara, and Learning Disabilities: Appropriate Practice for a Diverse Population.

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