Anti-bullying policy

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Anti-bullying policy

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Anti-Bullying Policy St John’s N.S, Kenmare

  1. In accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the code of behaviour guidelines issued by the NEWB, the Board of Management of St John’s N.S Kenmare has adopted the following anti-bullying policy within the framework of the school’s overall code of behaviour. This policy fully complies with the requirements of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools which were published in September 2013.
  2. The Board of Management recognises the very serious nature of bullying and the negative impact that it can have on the lives of pupils and is therefore fully committed to the following key principles of best practice in preventing and tackling bullying behaviour:

(a) A positive school culture and climate which

  • is welcoming of difference and diversity and is based on inclusivity;
  • encourages pupils to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour in a non-threatening environment; and
  • promotes respectful relationships across the school community;

(b)  Effective leadership

(c)  A school-wide approach

(d)  A shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact

(e) Implementation of education and prevention strategies (including awareness raising measures) that

  • build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils; and
  • explicitly address the issues of cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying.

(f) Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils

(g) Supports for staff

(h) Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies); and

(i) On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy.

Definition of Bullying:  Bullying is unwanted negative behaviour, verbal psychological or physical conducted, by an individual or group against another person (or persons) and which is repeated over time

The following types of bullying behaviour are included in the definition of bullying:

  • Physical aggression: This behaviour includes pushing, shoving, punching, kicking, poking and tripping people. It may also take the form of severe physical assault. While pupils often engage in ‘mess fights’, they can sometimes be used as a disguise for physical harassment or inflicting pain.

 

  • Intimidation: Some bullying behaviour takes the form of intimidation: it may be based on the use of very aggressive body language with the voice being used as a weapon. Particularly upsetting can be a facial expression which conveys aggression and/or dislike.

 

  • Extortion: Demands for money may be made, often accompanied by threats (sometimes carried out in the event of the targeted pupil not delivering on the demand). A pupil may also be forced into theft of property for delivery to another who is engaged in bullying behaviour.

 

  • Isolation/deliberate exclusion, malicious gossip and other relational bullying: This occurs where a certain person is deliberately isolated, excluded or ignored by some or all of the class group. This practice is usually initiated by the person engaged in bullying behaviour and can be difficult to detect. It may be accompanied by writing insulting remarks about the pupil in public places, by passing around notes about or drawings of the pupil or by whispering insults about them loud enough to be heard. Relational bullying occurs when a person’s attempts to socialise and form relationships with peers are repeatedly rejected or undermined. One of the most common forms includes control: “Do this or I won’t be your friend anymore”(implied or stated); a group ganging up against one person (girl or boy); non-verbal gesturing; malicious gossip; spreading rumours about a person or giving them the “silent treatment”.

 

  • Name calling: Persistent name-calling directed at the same individual(s) which hurts, insults or humiliates should be regarded as a form of bullying behaviour. Often name-calling of this type refers to physical appearance, e.g., size or clothes worn. Accent or distinctive voice characteristics may attract negative attention. Academic ability can also provoke name calling. This tends to operate at two extremes. There are those who are singled out for attention because they are perceived to be weak academically. At the other extreme there are those who, because they are perceived as high achievers, are also targeted.

 

  • Damage to property: Personal property can be the focus of attention for bullying behaviour. This may result in damage to clothing, property, school books and other learning material or interference with e.g. a pupil’s The contents of school bags and pencil cases may be scattered on the floor. Items of personal property may be defaced, broken, stolen or hidden.

 

  • Cyber-bullying: This type of bullying is increasingly common and is continuously evolving. It is bullying carried out through the use of information and communication technologies such as text, social network sites, e-mail, instant messaging (IM), apps, gaming sites, chat-rooms and other online technologies. Being the target of inappropriate or hurtful messages is the most common form of online bullying. As cyber-bullying uses technology to perpetrate bullying behaviour and does not require face to face contact, cyber-bullying can occur at any time (day or night). Many forms of bullying can be facilitated through cyber-bullying.
  • Identity-based bullying such as allow this racist bullying, bullying based on a person’s membership of the Traveller community and bullying of those with disabilities or special educational needs’.

Isolated or once-off incidents of intentional negative behaviour.  Do not fall within the definition of bullying and should be dealt with, as appropriate, in accordance with the school’s code of behaviour.

However, in the context of this policy, placing a once-off offensive or hurtful public message, image or statement on a social network site or other public forum where that message, image or statement can be viewed and/or repeated by other people will be regarded as bullying behaviour.

In an effort to combat any form of bullying, via technological means, St. John’s N.S. has imposed a ban on mobile phones at any time during the school day, i.e. the time during which the staff have direct responsibility for the welfare of the pupils.

Negative behaviour that does not meet this definition of bullying will be dealt with in accordance with the school’s code of behaviour.

  1. The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying are as follows:

A pupil or parent may bring a bullying concern to any teacher in the school.  Individual teachers must take appropriate measures regarding reports of bullying behaviour in accordance with the school’s anti-bullying policy.  It is anticipated that in the majority of cases of alleged bullying the initial complaint is first brought to the attention of the class teacher.

The relevant teacher responsible for investigating and dealing with/resolving bullying incidents will be the class teacher or class teachers of the pupils involved and/or the teacher/teachers on supervision duty if an incident occurs during a school break time.

The relevant teacher or teachers should keep the principal teacher/deputy principal informed of incidents and of progress being made to resolve these.

Where the relevant teacher is concerned that the gravity of the situation warrants immediate action from the principal, he/she should initially consult with the principal/deputy principal.

If it is agreed that the seriousness of the bullying behaviour warrants it, the principal/deputy principal immediately take a proactive part in investigating the bullying behaviour.

  1. The education and prevention strategies that will be used by the school are as follows:

School-wide approach:

Stay Safe

Walk tall

Gardaí speaking on cyberbullying

Compliance with acceptable user policy (AUP)

Filtering of internet

Strict supervision of internet

Alive O Programme

RSE programme

Anti- Bullying charter in each classroom

International day

 

  • A school-wide approach to the fostering of respect for all members of the school community.
  • The promotion of the value of diversity to address issues of prejudice and stereotyping, and highlight the unacceptability of bullying behaviour.
  • The fostering and enhancing of the self-esteem of all our pupils through both curricular and extracurricular activities. Pupils will be provided with opportunities to develop a positive sense of self-worth through formal and informal interactions.
  • School wide awareness raising and training on all aspects of bullying.
  • Supervision and monitoring of classrooms, corridors, school grounds, school tours and extra- curricular activities. Non-teaching and ancillary staff will be encouraged to be vigilant and report issues to relevant teachers. Supervision will also apply to monitoring student use of communication technology within the school.
  • Development and promotion of an Anti-Bullying code for the school-to be included in student journals and displayed publicly in classrooms and in common areas of the school.
  • The school’s anti-bullying policy is discussed with pupils and all parent(s)/guardian(s)s are given a copy as part of the Code of Behaviour of the school (every year).
  • Encourage a culture of telling, with particular emphasis on the importance of bystanders. In that way pupils will gain confidence in ‘telling’. This confidence factor is of vital importance. It should be made clear to all pupils that when they report incidents of bullying they are not considered to be telling tales but are behaving responsibly.
  • Ensuring that pupils know who to tell and how to tell, e.g.:
  • Direct approach to teacher at an appropriate time.
  • Hand note to the teacher.
  • Get a parent(s)/guardian(s) to tell on your behalf
  • Ensure bystanders understand the importance of telling if they witness or know that bullying is taking place.

 

  • Identify clear protocols to encourage parent(s)/guardian(s) to approach the school if they suspect that their child is being bullied. The protocol should be developed in consultation with parents.
  • The development of an Acceptable Use Policy in the school to include the necessary steps to ensure that the access to technology within the school is strictly monitored.

 

Implementation of curricula

  • The full implementation of the SPHE and CSPE curricula and the RSE and Stay Safe Programmes.
  • School wide delivery of lessons on bullying from evidence based programmes, Stay Safe Programme, The Walk Tall Programme,

 

The school shall list all resources related to the SPHE curriculum, and   make a list of supports.

  • Delivery of the Garda SPHE Programmes at primary and post- primary level where available. These lessons, delivered by Community Gardai, cover issues around personal safety and cyber-bullying
  • The school will specifically consider the additional needs of SEN pupils with regard to programme implementation and the development of skills and strategies to enable all pupils to respond appropriately.

 

  1. The school’s procedures for investigation, follow-up and recording of bullying behaviour and  the established intervention strategies used by the school for dealing with cases of bullying  behaviour are as follows :

 

Procedures for Investigating and Dealing with Bullying

 

 

Procedures re Bullying Behaviour: The school’s procedures for investigation, follow-up and recording of bullying behaviour and the established intervention strategies used by the school for dealing with cases of bullying behaviour are as follows:

The School Recognises that:

  • early intervention is crucial;
  • a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach should be adopted;
  • incidents are best investigated outside the classroom situation;
  • interviews should be conducted with sensitivity and with due regard to the rights of all pupils concerned.
  • other pupils can sometimes provide useful information;
  • dealing effectively with conflict in a non-aggressive manner is setting an example for pupils.
  • parental input and co-operation is valuable.
  • both victim and bully need help.

Investigation of Bullying:

  • All interviews will take place outside the classroom situation with due regard to child protection measures e.g. door to office/room will be left open.
  • A written record of discussions will be kept and the pupil may be asked to give his/her own written account.
  • If a gang is involved, pupils will be interviewed individually and then the gang will be met as a group, where each will be asked to give his/her account.
  • If it is concluded that a pupil has engaged in bullying behaviour, it will be made clear to him/her that he/she is in breach of the schools Code of Behaviour and Discipline.
  • Efforts will be made to assist the pupil in seeing the situation from the victim’s point of view.

In cases where bullying behaviour has occurred, parents/guardians of the two parties involved will be contacted. They will be referred to this school policy. Action being taken and the reason for it will be explained to them and ways in which they can reinforce or support the school action will be explored.

Action/Disciplinary steps: 

Those found to have been engaged in bullying will encompass some or all of the following:

  • They will be warned officially to stop offending.
  • Informing the bully/ bullies’ parents/guardians.
  • A firm commitment is given by the bully/bullies that this bullying conduct will cease immediately.
  • An interim period is allowed to lapse to see if the situation improves.
  • At the end of this period the situation is reviewed.
  • If the bullying behaviour continues on the part of any child/children they will then be suspended for a fixed period.
  • If the bullying continues the Board of Management will recommend suspension for a set period of time.

 

Follow Up:

  • Follow-up contact with the two parties may be organised to take place within one month of the investigation.
  • Following any incident of bullying, the school recognises that issues relating to the prevention of bullying may need to be examined. This will involve exploration of suitable programmes with victims, bullies and their peers. Whole school focus or specific class lessons may need to be revised dealing with respect, self-esteem, aggression or the issue of bullying itself.
  • If, during the course of the investigation, there are child protection concerns, the Children First 2011 guidelines become relevant as does the schools Child Protection policy.
  • Information re any past Bullying issues will be passed on to new teacher at the start of each year.

 

Where the school feels an individual needs specific support from outside agencies, a referral to NEPS will be considered.

  • The effectiveness of this school policy will be assessed regularly with regard to the level and type of bullying behaviour that may be happening in the school. Amendments will be made to reflect any change in approach deemed necessary.

Recording of Bullying Behaviour:

  • Where a bullying investigation has been carried out the class teacher will keep a written record of the incident.
  • Where the principal has used the Bullying Incident Investigation Record Form , a copy will be kept in the office along with his own records of the investigation.
  1. Programme of Support for Pupils:

The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:

  • The relevant teacher will endeavour to assure the child that he/she are the wronged party and that they did the right thing by telling.
  • The teacher will monitor the situation in the period after the bullying incident.
  • The Principal will follow up by checking in regularly on how the situation has developed.
  • Information re any past Bullying issues will be passed on to new teacher at the start of each year.
  • Pupils should understand that there are no innocent bystanders and that all incidents of bullying behaviour must be reported to a teacher

 

 

  1. Supervision and Monitoring of Pupils:

The Board of Management confirms that appropriate supervision and monitoring policies and practices are in place to both prevent and deal with bullying behaviour and to facilitate early intervention where possible.

 

  1. Prevention of Harassment: The Board of Management confirms that the school will, in accordance with its obligations under equality legislation, take all such steps that are reasonably practicable to prevent the sexual harassment of pupils or staff or the harassment of pupils or staff on any of the nine grounds specified i.e. gender including transgender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race and membership of the Traveller community.

 

  1. Adoption Date of Policy: This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on

………………………………

 

  1. Availability of Policy: This policy has been made available to school personnel, and a hard copy is readily accessible to parents and pupils on request. It has been provided to the Parents’ Association. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the patron if requested.
  2. Review of Policy: This policy and its implementation will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every school year. Written notification that the review has been completed will be made available to school personnel and provided to the Parents’ Association. A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department. The Principal is required to report to the BoM once a term as to the number, if any, of reports of alleged bullying which are being investigated by the school and whether matters have been resolved in accordance with this Policy.

 

 

 

Signed: ______________________ (Principal)

 

Date:    ____________________

 

Signed: ______________________ (Chairperson of Board of Management)

 

Date:   ____________________

 

 

Date of next review:   _____________________