Anti-Bullying Policy

ANTI-BULLYING POLICY

1. In accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the code of behaviour guidelines issued by the TUSLA, the Board of Management of Scoil Naomh Treasa, Bellewstown, 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

•   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
    • explicitly address the issues of cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying, including in

particular homophobic and transphobic bullying
• effective supervision and monitoring of pupils

 (f). Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils

 (g). Supports for staff

(h). Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour and alleged

bullying behaviour          

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

intervention strategies)

3. In accordance with the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools bullying is defined as follows:

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:

  • deliberate exclusion, malicious gossip and other forms of relational bullying
  • cyber-bullying
  • identity-based bullying such as, homophobic bullying, 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, including a once-off offensive or hurtful text message or other private messaging, 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.

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

Additional information on different types of bullying is set out in Section 2 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.

The list of examples below is non exhaustive.

Examples of Bullying Behaviours

General behaviours which apply to all types of bullying:

  • Harassment based on any of the nine grounds in the equality legislation e.g. sexual harassment, homophobic bullying, racist bullying etc.
  • Physical aggression
  • Damage to property
  • Name calling
  • Slagging
  • The production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other materials aimed at intimidating another person
  • Offensive graffiti
  • Extortion
  • Intimidation
  • Insulting or offensive gestures
  • The “look”
  • Invasion of personal space
  • A combination of any of the types listed.

Cyber Bullying Behaviours:

  • Denigration: Spreading rumours, lies or gossip to hurt a person’s reputation
  • Harassment: Continually sending vicious, mean or disturbing messages to an   individual
  • Impersonation: Posting offensive or aggressive messages under another person’s name
  • Flaming: Using inflammatory or vulgar words to provoke an online fight
  • Trickery: Fooling someone into sharing personal information which you then post online
  • Outing: Posting or sharing confidential or compromising information or images
  • Exclusion: Purposefully excluding someone from an online group
  • Cyber stalking: Ongoing harassment and denigration that causes a person considerable fear for his/her safety
  • Silent telephone/mobile phone call
  • Abusive telephone/mobile phone calls
  • Abusive text messages
  • Abusive email
  • Abusive communication on social networks e.g. Face-book/Ask.fm/ Twitter/You Tube or on games consoles
  • Abusive website comments/Blogs/Pictures
  • Abusive posts on any form of communication technology

 

Identity Based Behaviours:

Including any of the nine discriminatory grounds mentioned in Equality Legislation (gender including transgender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race and membership of the Traveller community).

Homophobic and Transgender:

  • Spreading rumours about a person’s sexual orientation
  • Taunting a person of a different sexual orientation
  • Name calling e.g. Gay, queer, lesbian…used in a derogatory manner
  • Physical intimidation or attacks
  • Threats

Race, Nationality, Ethnic Background and Membership of the Traveller Community:

  • Discrimination, prejudice, comments or insults about colour, nationality, culture, social class, religious beliefs, ethnic or traveller background
  • Exclusion on the basis of any of the above

Special Educational Needs or Disability:        

  • Name calling
  • Taunting others because of their disability or learning needs
  • Taking advantage of some pupils’ vulnerabilities and limited capacity to recognise and defend themselves against bullying
  • Taking advantage of some pupils’ vulnerabilities and limited capacity to understand social situations and social cues.
  • Mimicking a person’s disability
  • Setting others up for ridicule

 

Relational Bullying Behaviours:

This involves manipulating relationships as a means of bullying. Behaviours include:

  • Malicious gossip
  • Isolation & exclusion
  • Ignoring
  • Excluding from the group
  • Taking someone’s friends away
  • Hurtful comments and remarks
  • Spreading rumours
  • Breaking confidence
  • Talking loud enough so that the victim can hear
  • The “look”
  • Use or terminology such as ‘nerd’ in a derogatory way

 

Sexual Bullying Behaviours:

  • Unwelcome or inappropriate  sexual comments or touching
  • Harassment

 

4. The relevant teachers for investigating and dealing with bullying are as follows:

  • All class teachers
  • Any teacher can act as a relevant teacher if circumstances warrant it

 

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

Prevention Strategies:
•        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.

 

  • Whole staff professional development on bullying to ensure that all staff develops an awareness of what bullying is, how it impacts on pupils’ lives and the need to respond to it-prevention and intervention.

 

  • An annual audit of professional development needs with a view to assessing staff requirements through internal staff knowledge/expertise and external sources

 

  • Professional development with specific focus on the training of the relevant teachers

 

  • School wide awareness raising and training on all aspects of bullying, to include pupils, parent(s)/guardian(s) and the wider school community.

 

  • 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 parent(s)/guardian(s) on the Board of Management. All parents are free to view the policy online or to request a hard copy from the school.

 

  • The implementation of regular whole school awareness measures e.g. the promotion of friendship and bullying prevention at regular school assemblies by the principal.

 

  • Encourage a culture of talk and disclosure, 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.:
  1. Direct approach to teacher at an appropriate time, for example after class.
  2. Hand note up with homework.
  3. Make a phone call to the school or to a trusted teacher in the school.
  4. Get a parent(s)/guardian(s) or friend to tell on your behalf.
  5. 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 Internet Use Policy in the school to include the necessary steps to ensure that the access to technology within the school is strictly monitored, as is the pupils’ use of mobile phones.

 

Implementation of Curriculum:

  • The full implementation of the SPHE curriculum and the RSE and Stay Safe Programmes.

 

  • Continuous Professional Development for staff in delivering these programmes.

 

  • School wide delivery of lessons on bullying from evidence based programmes, e.g. Stay Safe Programme, The Walk Tall Programme.

 

  • School wide delivery of lessons on Relational Aggression, Cyber Bullying (Be Safe, Be Web Wise Programme), Homophobic Bullying and Diversity and Interculturalism (Yellow Flag Programme).

 

  • Delivery of the Garda SPHE Programmes at primary level. These lessons, delivered by Community Gardaí, 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.

 

6. 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

The primary aim in investigating and dealing with bullying is to resolve any issues and to restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved (rather than to apportion blame).

The school’s procedures must be consistent with the following approach.

Every effort will be made to ensure that all involved (including pupils, parent(s)/guardian(s)) understand this approach from the outset.

 

*Please see Appendices 1A and 1B for a summarised version of the following procedures

Reporting Bullying Behaviour:

  • Any pupil or parent(s)/guardian(s) may bring an alleged bullying incident to any teacher in the school.
  • All reports, including anonymous reports of alleged bullying, will be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher.
  • Teaching and non-teaching staff such as secretary, caretaker, special needs assistants (SNAs) and cleaners must report any incidents of alleged bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher.

Investigating and Dealing with Incidents – Style of Approach:

•   In investigating and dealing with alleged bullying, the relevant teacher will exercise his/her

professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best the situation

might be resolved.

•   Parent(s)/guardian(s) and pupils are required to co-operate with any investigation and assist the school in resolving any issues and restoring, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved as quickly as possible.

•   Teachers should take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach.

•   Where possible incidents should be investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved.

•   All interviews should be conducted with sensitivity and with due regard to the rights of all pupils concerned. Pupils who are not directly involved can also provide very useful information in this way.

 •   When analysing incidents of alleged bullying behaviour, the relevant teacher should seek answers to questions of what, where, when, who and why. This should be done in a calm manner, setting an example in dealing effectively with a conflict in a non-aggressive manner.

•   If a group is involved, each member should be interviewed individually at first. Thereafter, all those involved should be met as a group. At the group meeting, each member should be asked for his/her account of what happened to ensure that everyone in the group is clear about each other’s statements.

•   Each member of a group should be supported through the possible pressures that may face them from the other members of the group after the interview with the teacher.
It may also be appropriate or helpful to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident(s).

•   In cases where it has been determined by the relevant teacher that bullying behaviour has occurred, the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the parties involved should be contacted at an early stage to inform them of the matter and explain the actions being taken (by reference to the school policy). The school should give parent(s)/guardian(s) an opportunity of discussing ways in which they can reinforce or support the actions being taken by the school and the supports provided to the pupils.

•   Where the relevant teacher has determined that a pupil has been engaged in bullying behaviour, it should be made clear to him/her how he/she is in breach of the school’s anti-bullying policy and efforts should be made to try to get him/her to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied.

•   It must also be made clear to all involved (each set of pupils and parent(s)/guardian(s)) that in any situation where disciplinary sanctions are required, this is a private matter between the pupil being disciplined, his or her parent(s)/guardian(s) and the school.

 

Follow Up and Recording:

  • In determining whether a bullying case has been adequately and appropriately addressed the relevant teacher must, as part of his/her professional judgement, take the following factors into account:

-  Whether the bullying behaviour has ceased;
-  Whether any issues between the parties have been resolved as far as is practicable;
-  Whether the relationships between the parties have been restored as far as is practicable;
-   Any feedback received from the parties involved, their parent(s)/guardian(s) or the school

Principal or Deputy Principal

  • Follow-up meetings with the relevant parties involved should be arranged separately with a view to possibly bringing them together at a later date if the pupil who has been bullied is ready and agreeable.
  • Where a parent(s)/guardian(s) is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, the parent(s)/guardian(s) must be referred, as appropriate, to the school’s complaints procedures.
  • In the event that a parent(s)/guardian(s) has exhausted the school’s complaints procedures and is still not satisfied, the school must advise the parent(s)/guardian(s) of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.

 

Recording of Bullying Behaviour:

It is imperative that all recording of bullying incidents must be done in an objective and factual manner.
The school’s procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour are as follows:

Informal: Pre-determination that bullying has occurred

•   All staff must keep a written record of any incidents witnessed by them or notified to them. This will be recorded in the “class incident book”. All incidents must be reported to the relevant teacher.

•  While all reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher, the relevant teacher must keep a written record of the reports, the actions taken and any discussions with those involved regarding same

•   The relevant teacher must inform the principal of all incidents being investigated.

 

Formal: Stage 1 – Determination that bullying has occurred

•   If it is established by the relevant teacher that bullying has occurred, the relevant teacher must keep appropriate written records which will assist his/her efforts to resolve the issues and restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved.

•   All “class incident books” will be collected at the end of each academic year and stored in the principal’s office for distribution to the relevant class teacher at the start of the next academic year.

Formal: Stage 2 – Please refer to Appendix 2

The relevant teacher must use the recording template at Appendix 2 to record the bullying behaviour in the following circumstances:

 a) in cases where he/she considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days after he/she has determined that bullying behaviour occurred.

b) Where the school has decided as part of its anti-bullying policy that in certain circumstances bullying behaviour must be recorded and reported immediately to the Principal or Deputy Principal as applicable e.g. violent behaviour causing physical injury; gross offensive language and nasty remarks; extortion/stealing; intimidation.

When the recording template is used, it must be retained by the relevant teacher in question and a copy maintained by the principal. These records will be kept in the principal’s office. Relevant teachers and parent(s)/guardian(s) of the accused child (ren) will have access to them and they will be retained for ten (10) years after the child (ren) have left the school.

 

Established Intervention Strategies:

•   Teacher interviews with all pupils

•   Negotiating agreements between pupils and following these up by monitoring progress. This

can be on an informal basis or implemented through a more structured mediation process

•   Working with parent(s)/guardian(s)s to support school interventions

•   No Blame Approach

•   Circle Time

•   Restorative interviews

•   Restorative conferencing

 

7.  The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying

•   All in-school supports and opportunities will be provided for the pupils affected by bullying to participate in activities designed to raise their self-esteem, to develop friendships and social skills and build resilience e.g.
                                 – Pastoral care system
                                 – Buddy / Peer mentoring system
                                 – Group work such as circle time

•   If pupils require counselling or further supports the school will endeavour to liaise with the appropriate agencies to organise same. This may be for the pupil affected by bullying or involved in the bullying behaviour.

•   Pupils should understand that there are no innocent bystanders and that all incidents of bullying behaviour must be reported to a teacher.

 

  • Teachers will have access to PDST Anti Bullying support material and DES Anti Bullying procedures for Primary Schools (2013).

 

8.  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.

•   There are agreed appropriate monitoring and supervision practices in the school.

•   Bullying danger spots have been identified.

•   Pupils, in particular senior pupils, will be involved as a resource to assist in counteracting bullying. In this regard, a mentoring/buddy system will be considered.

•   In relation to Acceptable Use Policy in the school the following issues are addressed:

- All Internet sessions are supervised by a teacher.
- Pupils have been instructed to use only approved class accounts for email purposes

and to use these only under teacher supervision.

(Note that the Schools Broadband Programme has blocked all social networking sites on the basis that they waste time and take up too much of the bandwidth which is been provided for educational purposes only).

9Prevention 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.

10. This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on __________________________

11. This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website, is readily accessible to parents and pupils on request and provided to the Parents’ Association. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the patron if requested.

12. 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, published on the school website, be readily accessible to parents and pupils on request 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. (Please see Appendix 3).

 

 

Signed: Fr John Conlon                                                     Signed: Bernadette Mc Guinness


Chairperson Board of Management: May 2015     Principal: May 2015

Date of next review:  January 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix 1(a): Procedures for dealing with bullying/misbehaviour.

*All instances of bullying will be considered as serious misbehaviour.

  1. The child is made aware that his/her behaviour is unacceptable.
  2. The child receives a verbal reprimand from his/her teacher and is advised on how to improve.
  3. The child may be temporarily separated from peers, friends and others (e.g. class group).
  4. For misbehaviour in the yard, the child may be asked to remain inside (outside the staffroom) during break to fill in a behaviour reflection form.
  5. For misbehaviour that occurs at lunch time or at any other time when another teacher is in charge, that teacher may impose a sanction and inform the class teacher of same.
  6. Additional homework or a written assignment re his/her inappropriate behaviour may be prescribed to the child.
  7. A note detailing the misbehaviour may be written into the child’s homework journal to be signed by his/her parent or guardian.
  8. The incident is communicated to the principal and the child is referred to the principal if necessary.
  9. If a child continues to misbehave the class, his/her parents or guardians will be asked to meet with the class teacher.
  10. If the misbehaviour continues, the child’s parents/guardians will be asked to meet with the principal. Ongoing meetings may be necessary if the problem persists.
  11. For serious misbehaviour, after consultation with parents/guardians, the child may be deprived of privileges.
  12. In instances of repeated serious misbehaviour, the parents/guardians will be asked to meet with the chairperson of the Board of Management, the principal and the class teacher, and will be asked to give an undertaking that the pupil will behave in an acceptable manner going forward.
  13. If this cannot be agreed, or if the serious misbehaviour continues, the Board of Management may decide to suspend the child for a temporary period up to a maximum of three school days.
  14. A special decision by the Board of Management may be necessary to authorise a further period of suspension, up to a maximum of ten school days. In exceptional circumstances the Board of Management may authorise a further period of suspension.
  15. Expulsion may be considered in an extreme case.
  16. In the case of gross misbehaviour, the Board of Management, having informed parents/guardians may authorise the chairperson or the principal to sanction immediate suspension.
  17. Recompense is expected to be made by parents/guardians for the damage to, loss or theft of property.

N.B. Teachers shall keep a written record of all instances of serious misbehaviour as well as a record of improvements in the behaviour of disruptive pupils.

A whole class will not be punished because of one child’s or small group’s misbehaviour, save in exceptional circumstances.

 

Appendix 2Recording Template

 

1. Name of pupil being bullied and class group

Name _________________________________________Class__________________

2. Name(s) and class(es) of pupil(s) engaged in bullying behaviour

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

3. Source of bullying concern/report (tick relevant box(es))*

  • Pupil concerned
  • Other Pupil
  • Parent
  • Teacher
  • Other

4. Location of incidents (tick relevant box(es))*

  • Playground Classroom
  • Corridor
  • Toilets
  • School Bus
  • Other

5. Name of person(s) who reported the bullying concern

6. Type of Bullying Behaviour (tick relevant box(es)) *

  • Physical Aggression
  • Cyber-bullying
  • Damage to Property
  • Intimidation
  • Isolation/Exclusion
  • Malicious Gossip
  • Name Calling
  • Other (specify) _______________________________________________________

7. Where behaviour is regarded as identity-based bullying, indicate the relevant category:

  • Homophobic related
  • Disability/SEN
  • Racist Membership of Traveller community
  • Other (specify) _________________________________________

8. Brief Description of bullying behaviour and its impact:

 

 

9. Details of actions taken:

 

 

Signed: ____________________________ (Relevant Teacher)

Date: _______________

Date submitted to Principal: ___________________

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix 3: Notification regarding the Board of Management’s

Review of the Anti-Bullying Policy

 

To: _____________________________________

The Board of Management of ____________________ wishes to inform you that:

  • The Board of Management’s annual review of the school’s anti-bullying policy and its implementation was completed at the Board meeting of _______________ [date].
  • This review was conducted in accordance with the checklist set out in Appendix 4 of the Department’s Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.

Signed _____________________________                             Date __________
Chairperson, Board of Management

Signed ____________________________                               Date __________
Principal

 

 

 

 

 

Scoil Naomh Treasa, Bellewstown, Co. Meath

 

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