Anti- Bullying Policy
In accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the Code of Behaviour guidelines issued by TUSLA Education Welfare Services, the Board of Management of Rutland National School 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 and the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017, which seek to ensure that children are not at risk of harm whilst they are in school.
This Anti-Bullying Policy integrates with and supports a number of other key school policies including…
- Child Safeguarding Statement
- Code of Behaviour
- Supervision Policy
- Care team Policy
- Internet Acceptable Usage Policy
- Religious Education Policy
Key Principles of Best Practice
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 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
- promotes respectful relationships across the school community
- Effective leadership;
- A school-wide approach;
- A shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact;
- 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.
Supports for staff
- Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils;
- Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies)
- On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy.
Definition and Types of Bullying
In the context of these procedures, bullying is defined as unwanted negative behaviour, verbal, psychological or physical conducted by an individual or group against another person (or persons) which is repeated over time.
The following types of bullying behaviour are included in this non-exhaustive list:
Deliberate exclusion, malicious gossip and other forms of relational bullying
- Identity-based bullying such as homophobic bullying, transphobic bullying, racist bullying, bullying based on a person’s membership of the Traveller Community and bullying of those with disabilities or special educational needs and
- Cyber bullying which incorporates bullying of any sort including on any social media networks or platforms
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 this 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 a once-off offensive or hurtful public message, image or statement on any social media 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.
This policy applies to activities and events that take place:
- During school time (including break times)
- Going to/from school
- School tours/trips
Extra – Curricular Activities (including homework club and football club)Roles and Responsibilities
In these procedures, the member of teaching staff who has responsibility for investigating and dealing with bullying is referred to as the “relevant teacher”. The relevant teacher will normally be the class teacher.
The Anti-Bullying Co-ordinators:
- Niamh Murray – Principal
- Ian Cherry – Deputy Principal
- Diane Devereux – Assistant Principal II with responsibility for SPHE
All staff are responsible for implementing this policy:
- All teachers have responsibility for investigating and recording incidents of bullying behaviour which has been brought to their attention
- Special Needs Assistants have responsibility for assisting teachers in monitoring pupils and activities in yard and on canteen
- HSCL Co-ordinator – Emma Nugent has responsibility for links with parents and dispersal of relevant information and support
Education and Prevention Strategies
Rutland NS adopts a school wide approach to fostering respect for all members of the school community as it has been laid down in the school’s ethos and mission statement.
- Constant reinforcement of school catchphrase – Bully-free it starts with Me!
- ‘Catch them being good’ – notice and acknowledge desired respectful behaviour by providing positive attention for it. This lies at the core of the Discipline for learning
- 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.
- All staff can suggest a child be sent to the principal’s office to be placed in the Golden Book and all staff are encouraged to give compliments.
- All electronic equipment is handed to class teacher for storage until end of school day and is only allowed to be used at the discretion of the teacher.
- Teachers and pupils will identify bullying ‘hot-spots’ and ‘hot-times’ and appropriate steps will be taken to ensure adequate supervision.
- Explicitly teach pupils what respectful language and respectful behaviour looks like, acts like, sounds like and feels like in class and around the school
- Focused teaching of the CALM approach – Cool, Assert Yourself, Look them in the eye, Mean it
- Fostering and enhancing the self-esteem of all pupils through both curricular (SPHE curriculum – Stay Safe/Walk Tall) and extracurricular activities. Pupils will be provided with opportunities to develop a positive sense of self -worth through formal and informal interactions
- Teacher conversations with pupils about the importance of friendship & respect.
- Circle Time and similar strategies such as restorative practice in order to address issues.
- Anti-bullying programme and awareness-raising throughout the school year.
- 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) to support school interventions.
- All class teachers will endeavour to deliver one anti-bullying lesson per month from either evidence based programmes e.g., webwise or from their own resources
- Shield Statements will be included in pupil’s journals and displayed publicly in classrooms and in common areas of the school. Specific teaching time will be devoted to teaching the Shield Statements
- Specific focus on new pupils as they settle into school – class buddy system
- Beginning of year focus the Rights and Responsibilities of all pupils (Reference: Me, You, Everyone – Amnesty International UK) School rules are categorised into these 4 classroom agreements Respect, Safety, Learning and Communication. Classroom rules posters will be colour coordinated to highlight these categories.
- Class teachers award Pupil of Week & Most Improved Pupil to recognise and reward positive behaviour.
- Anti-Bullying Policy will be discussed at all September Welcome Meetings and is available for viewing on the school website rutlandns.ie
- The school principal is obliged to report on incidents of bullying to the school Board of Management at each B.O.M. meeting.
- Will ensure that the Anti-Bullying Policy is reviewed annually.
- The principal will endeavour to organise for whole staff professional development on bullying to ensure that all staff develop an awareness of what bullying is, how it impacts on pupils lives and the need to respond to it – prevention and intervention. If outside agencies are unavailable the teacher with responsibility for SPHE will complete a Croke Park hour on the topic.
- Providing school wide awareness raising and training on various aspects of bullying to include pupils, parents/guardians and the wider school community. This will take the form of workshops, information sessions and website updates
- Liaise with the Assistant Principal II to organise for Anti-Bullying Questionnaires to be administered termly
- Encourage and provide for professional development for staff with specific focus on training in relation to teaching children presenting with Emotional and Behavioural Disturbance
- Liaises with teachers to compile a list of children to be placed on ‘school alert’
- Ensures school support plans are in place for children on ‘school alert’
- Meets with principal & assistant principal II to review responses from the Anti-Bullying questionnaires.
Assistant Principal II with responsibility for SPHE – including Anti-Bullying
- Co-ordinates the annual review of the Anti-Bullying Policy
- Distributes Anti-Bullying Survey once per term
- Collates responses to the survey alongside deputy principal
- Implementation of regular whole school awareness measures e.g. Friendship Week, Safer Internet Day, Intercultural Week, termly student anti bullying surveys.
- Co-ordinates Care Team meetings – to support the social, behavioural and emotional needs of pupils
Rutland Street National School aims to ensure that children are safe and feel safe from bullying, harassment and discrimination. This school is committed to teaching children the knowledge and skills to be able to use ICT effectively, safely and responsibly.
Rutland N.S. is cognisant of the fact that a significant amount of bullying behaviour now takes place on mobile phones. Children are not allowed to use mobile phones on the school premises or on any school related trips. The exception to this is the day after Confirmation when children have their photos taken by the photographer, before going for a graduation breakfast. Parents will be reminded that children may use phones on this day. If children need to bring a mobile phone to school for contact purposes after school, they must hand it up to the teacher at the start of the day, and it is returned to them at home time.
Understanding Cyber bullying:
- Cyber bullying is the use of ICT (an electronic device – mobile phone, iPad, tablet and or the internet) to abuse another person
- It can take place anywhere and involve many people
- Anybody can be targeted including pupils and school staff
- It can include threats, intimidation, harassment, cyber-stalking, vilification, defamation, exclusion, peer rejection, impersonation, unauthorized publication of private information or images etc.
While bullying involves a repetition of unwelcome behaviour the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools, September 2013, states:
2.1.3. In addition, in the context of these procedures 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.
What is cyber bullying?
There are many types of cyber bullying. The more common types are:
- Text messages – can be threatening or cause discomfort. Also included here is ‘Blue jacking’ (the sending of anonymous text messages over short distances using Bluetooth wireless technology)
- Picture/video-clips via mobile phone cameras – images sent to others to make the victim feel threatened or embarrassed
- Mobile phone calls – silent calls, abusive messages or stealing the victim‛s phone and using it to harass others, to make them believe the victim is responsible
- 4. Emails – threatening or bullying emails, often sent using fraudulent accounts or somebody else‛s name
- Group chat bullying – menacing or upsetting responses to children or young people when they are in a group chat with others
- Instant messaging (IM) – unpleasant messages sent while children conduct real-time conversations
- Bullying via websites – use of defamatory blogs (web logs), personal websites and online personal sites such as You Tube, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, Viber, Sarahah – although there are others.
Explanation of slang terms used when referring to cyber-bullying activity:
- ‘Flaming’: Online fights using electronic messages with angry and vulgar language
- ‘Harassment’: Repeatedly sending offensive, rude, and insulting messages
- ‘Cyber Stalking’: Repeatedly sending messages that include threats of harm or are highly intimidating or engaging in other on-line activities that make a person afraid for his or her own safety
- ‘Denigration’: ‘Dissing’ someone online. Sending or posting cruel gossip or rumours about a person to damage his or her reputation or friendships
- ‘Impersonation’: Pretending to be someone else and sending or posting material online that makes someone look bad, gets her/him in trouble or danger, or damages her/his reputation or friendships
- ‘Outing and Trickery’: Tricking someone into revealing secret or embarrassing information which is then shared online
- ‘Exclusion’: Intentionally excluding someone from an on-line group, like a ‘buddy list’
This list is not exhaustive and the terms used are subject to change.
- To ensure that pupils, staff and parents understand what cyber bullying is and how it can be combatted
- To ensure that practices and procedures are agreed to prevent incidents of cyber-bullying
- To ensure that reported incidents of cyber bullying are dealt with effectively and quickly.
- Procedures are put in place to prevent cyber-bullying:
- Staff, pupils, parents and Board of Management (BoM) will be made aware of issues surrounding cyber bullying through the use of appropriate awareness-raising exercises.
- Pupils will learn about cyber bullying through Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE), class lessons, and curriculum projects.
- The school will engage a speaker to facilitate a workshop on cyber bullying for 4th, 5th and 6th classes annually.
- Parents will be provided with information and advice on how to combat cyber bullying with a workshop being run every second year.
- Pupils will sign an Acceptable Use of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) contract annually
- Parents will also be expected to sign an Acceptable Use of ICT contract annually and encouraged to discuss its meaning with their children
- Pupils and parents will be urged to report all incidents of cyber bullying to the school
- All reports of cyber bullying will be investigated, recorded, stored in the Principal’s office and monitored regularly
- Procedures in our school Anti-bullying Policy/Cyber section shall apply – with regard to ‘Reform No Blame’ approach being taken in all cases
- The police will be contacted in cases of actual or suspected illegal content
This policy will be reviewed annually. Pupils, parents and staff will be involved in reviewing and revising this policy and any related school procedure
Information for pupils:
If you are being bullied by phone or on the Internet:
- Remember, bullying is never your fault. It can be stopped and it can usually be traced.
- Don‛t ignore the bullying. Tell someone you trust, such as a teacher or parent or call an advice line.
- Try to keep calm. If you are frightened, try to show it as little as possible. Don‛t get angry, it will only make the person bullying you more likely to continue.
- Don‛t give out your personal details online – if you are in a chat room, do not say where you live, the school you go to, your email address etc. All these things can help someone who wants to harm you to build up a picture about you.
- Keep and save any bullying emails, text messages or images. Then you can show them to a parent or teacher as evidence.
- If you can, make a note of the time and date bullying messages or images were sent, and note any details about the sender
There is plenty of online advice on how to react to cyber bullying. For example,
- You can easily stop receiving text messages for a while by turning-off incoming messages for a couple of days. This might stop the person texting you by making them believe you‛ve changed your phone number
- If the bullying persists, you can change your phone number. Ask your mobile service provider about this.
- Don‛t reply to abusive or worrying text or video messages.
- Your mobile service provider will have a number for you to ring or text to report phone bullying. Visit their website for details.
- Don‛t delete messages from cyber bullies. You don‛t have to read them, but you should keep them as evidence.
Identity based bullying including homophobic and transphobic bullying
Understanding Identity Based Bullying:
Identity-based bullying resides in the intersection of bullying and bias. It is defined as any form of bullying related to characteristics considered part of a person’s identity or perceived identity group, such as race, religion, disability, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender identity and physical appearance.
What is Identity based bullying?
An identity based bullying incident is defined as: “Any incident, which is perceived to be discriminatory by the victim or any other person (that is directed to impact upon those known or perceived to be). This includes verbal abuse, property damage, threats and actual assaults.”
Identity-based bullying can take many forms, some examples are:
- Verbal abuse
- Property damage
- Actual assaults
- Stigmatizing a student with a disability
- Teasing an overweight child about their body
- Using homophobic language toward students who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual
- Excluding a young person because they don’t conform to gender norms
- Using a racial slur
Explanation of terms:
LGBTQIA: a collective name for people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex and asexual.
Bias: An inclination or preference either for or against an individual or group that interferes with impartial judgment.
Bigotry: An unreasonable or irrational attachment to negative stereotypes and prejudices.
Bisexual: a man or woman who is romantically, sexually and/or emotionally attracted to people of either sex.
Bystander: Someone who sees something happening and does not say or do anything.
Coming Out: a term used to describe the process where a person realises that they are LGBTQIA and may begin to disclose this aspect of their identity to others.
Disability: A mental or physical condition that restricts an individual’s ability to engage in one or more major life activities (e.g. seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, communicating, sensing, breathing, performing manual tasks, learning, working or caring for oneself).
Discrimination: The denial of justice and fair treatment by both individuals and institutions in many arenas, including employment, education, housing, banking and political rights.
Discrimination is an action that can follow prejudicial thinking.
Diversity: Means different or varied. The population of Ireland is made up of people from different places and from diverse racial and cultural groups and includes members of the Traveller Community.
Ethnicity: Refers to a person’s identification with a group based on characteristics such as shared history, ancestry, geographic and language origin, and culture.
Equality: Everyone having the same rights, opportunities and resources. Equality stresses fairness and parity in having access to social goods and services.
Gay: a man or woman who is romantically, sexually and/or emotionally attracted to people of the same sex, most commonly used by men.
Gender Identity: a person’s internal feeling of being male or female, regardless of the sex listed on their birth certificate.
Homophobic bullying: bullying that is based on actual or perceived sexual orientation. It is a type of identity-based bullying.
Inclusion: An environment and commitment to support, represent and embrace diverse social groups and identities; creating an environment where all people feel they belong.
Inequality: An unfair situation when some people have more rights or better opportunities than other people.
Lesbian: a woman who is romantically, sexually and/or emotionally attracted to women.
Racism: Prejudice and/or discrimination against people based on the social construction of race. Differences in physical characteristics (e.g. skin colour, hair texture, eye shape) are highlighted to support a system of inequities.
Sexism: Prejudice and/or discrimination against people based on their real or perceived sex.
Sexism is based on a belief (conscious or unconscious) that there is a natural order based on sex.
Sexual Orientation: refers to an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions to men, women or both sexes. Three sexual orientations are commonly recognised – heterosexual (straight), homosexual (gay or lesbian) and bisexual.
Stereotype: An oversimplified generalization about a person or group of people without regard for individual differences. Even seemingly positive stereotypes that link a person or group to a specific positive trait can have negative consequences.
Transgender: refers to a person whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex assigned to them at birth.
Transsexual: An older term for people whose gender identity is different from their assigned sex at birth who seek to transition from male to female or female to male. Many do not prefer this term because it is thought to sound overly clinical.
Transphobic bullying: is bullying that is based on actual or perceived gender identity. It is a type of identity-based bullying.
Xenophobia: Prejudice and/or discrimination against anyone or anything that is perceived to be foreign or outside one’s own group, nation or culture. Xenophobia is commonly used to describe negative attitudes toward foreigners and immigrants.
This list is not exhaustive and the terms used are subject to change.
- To prevent discriminatory and identity-based bullying, using a whole school approach.
- Creating a school culture and ethos that reflects the importance of feeling safe, and being part of an inclusive and supportive community.
- Ensure staff and students understand what behaviour is expected of them.
- Acknowledge that discrimination exists in wider society, and that it can lead to discriminatory bullying in schools.
- Be clear that reports of this behaviour will be taken extremely seriously and that such behaviour won’t be tolerated.
- Create a talking culture in our school where any hurtful behaviour is quickly brought out in the open, discussed and dealt with.
- Celebrating difference: There are many opportunities to celebrate difference within our school. We cherish diversity in our students and make it possible for any student to thrive in our school environment.
- We build understanding about difference by teaching and incorporating it into school life. For example, we teach pupils about different races, cultures and religions and have visible role models and positive images of people with diabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBTQIA), women, people from different faiths and minority communities across school.
- We acknowledge that the school community, including pupils, staff members, management, outside agencies and families, will include people with disabilities, people of different races, ages, faiths backgrounds, and people who will be LGBTQIA.
- Diversity is welcome in the school community. This is also done without ‘outing’ anyone who does not wish to make an aspect of their identity known.
- We communicate to parents and carers information about how we’re making the school supportive of diversity through specific school events such as “Intercultural Week”, “Arts Week”, “Friendship Week” and “Mental Health and Wellbeing Week”.
- We participate in the “Different Families, Same Love” competition and event annually.
- We use the language of diversity and ensure all school staff feel comfortable and confident talking about all kinds of difference through CPD during Croke Park time as delivered by the APII with responsibility for SPHE.
- The school staff will challenge all forms of offensive or discriminatory language among our students and staff, including language which can be seen as sexist, transphobic, homophobic etc. Discriminatory language can create attitudes and environments where bullying is more likely to happen.
- Including and involving all pupils: The best efforts of adults sometimes lead to a young person becoming isolated or disempowered and a potential bullying target. For example, if a pupil works closely with an SNA, it is important that staff make sure that doesn’t prevent them from making friends, interacting with their peers and learning to be independent.
- If a pupil has a difference that is not visible to others, for example, hidden disability, special educational or additional support needs, or undisclosed gender identity or sexual orientation, it is important to have a conversation with them to discuss what information they want to share with peers. As with all children, support them to define themselves and take the lead in their own lives.
- Ensure that children understand their rights. School is a place where they have the right to feel safe, to be themselves and to communicate any concerns they have about bullying.
- Prevent sexual or sexist bullying by supporting children and young people to understand puberty and sexual development by teaching the RSE curriculum; and to communicate concerns about sexual bullying.
- Teaching the SPHE curriculum.
- Teaching the “Altogether Now!” curriculum which is an educational awareness programme on homophobic and transphobic bullying in primary schools. This is completed in 5th and 6th classes in March of each year.
Useful Resources and websites
- Alley Oops by Janice Levy
- Arnie and the New Kid by Nancy Carlson
- Carla’s Sandwich by Debbie Herman
- Crow Boy by Taro Yashima
- First Day in Grapes by L. King Perez
- Harry and Willy and Carrothead by Judith Caseley
- Just Kidding by Trudy Ludwig
- My Brother Bernadette by Jacqueline Wilson
- My Name is Bilal by Asma Mobbin-Udin
- The Gold-Threaded Dress by Caroline Marsden
- Oliver Button is a Sissy by Tomie dePaola
- One by Kathryn Otoshi
- Pinky and Rex and the Bully by James Howe
- Rosie’s Story by Martine Gogoll
- Sissy Duckling by Harvey Fierstein
- Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell
- Yoko by Rosemary Wells
Procedures for Investigating, Follow Up and Recording of Bullying Behaviour
Since the failure to report bullying can result in a continuation or deterioration in bullying behaviours, the school and parents encourage pupils to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying.to any teacher, Special Needs Assistants, the Principal or their parents. Any parent who has a concern about bullying must report it back to the class teacher. All school staff consistently relay the message that reporting incidents of bullying is responsible behaviour, and is not considered to be ‘telling tales’. This is a ‘Telling School’ as defined in the Stay Safe programme.
While the school supports parents and pupils in dealing with issues that arise outside of school, parents should be aware that the school is limited in its power to deal fully with issues that arise while the children are not under our care.
Rutland NS Code of Behaviour is at the core of our Anti-Bullying procedures and should be referred to when sanctioning the perpetrators of Bullying.
Reporting bullying behaviour
- Pupils are encouraged to report bullying behaviour as soon as possible.
- Any pupil or parent(s)/guardian(s) may bring a bullying incident to the attention of any teacher in the school.
- All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying, will be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher in a professional manner.
- Teaching and non-teaching staff such as the secretary, special needs assistants (SNAs), caretaker, cleaners must report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher.
Recording of bullying behaviour
- It is important that all recording of bullying incidents is done in an objective and factual manner. Records are kept in compliance with the new General Data Protection legislation.
- All staff keeps a written record of any incidents witnessed by them or notified to them.
- We have an incident book for use by the teacher on the playground. The Principal also has a book for the reporting of incidents
- All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher.
- The relevant teacher must inform the Principal of all incidents being investigated.
Investigating and dealing with incidents
- Reports of bullying behaviour will be investigated in a fair and professional manner by the school staff, with the aim of resolving the issue(s) and restoring relationships of the parties involved in so far as is practicable.
- In investigating and dealing with bullying, the (relevant) teacher will exercise her/his 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 to dealing with bullying.
- Where possible incidents should be investigated outside the classroom to ensure the privacy of all involved, whilst the class is covered by another teacher.
- 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.
- Teachers may request the assistance of another staff member in such investigations.
- Each child should be supported through the process and any possible peer pressures
- It may also be helpful to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident(s) (if appropriate).
- 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 will be contacted at that stage to inform them of the matter and explain the actions being taken (by reference to the school policy). The school will give parent(s)/guardian(s) an opportunity to discuss ways in which they can reinforce or support the actions being taken by the school and the supports provided to the pupils.
- 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 perpetrator, victim and their parents/guardians.
- The situation will be carefully monitored by all staff working with the pupil. A plan of support may be put in place for the parties involved.
- When analysing incidents of 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.
- Pupils not directly involved in the bullying incident(s) may be interviewed to ascertain a clearer picture of what happened. Children should understand that there are no innocent bystanders if they remain passive where bullying is concerned – all bystanders must report bullying.
- Teachers who are investigating bullying behaviour should keep a written record of their discussions with those involved.
- 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.
- Where the relevant teacher has determined that a pupil has been engaged in bullying behaviour, it should be made clear to her/him how s/he is in breach of the school’s Anti-Bullying Policy and efforts should be made to try to get her/him to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied.
- In cases where it has been determined by the relevant teacher that bullying has occurred, the Principal should be notified by the relevant teacher at this stage.
- The parents 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.
- At this point a restorative meeting will be conducted by the relevant teacher with the permission of the parents. All the pupil parties involved in the incidents will be included once parental permission has been given.
- If after the above, the bullying behaviour reoccurs a formal meeting of the perpetrator, his/her parents /guardians, the Principal and Chairperson of the Board of Management will be held and a formal suspension may occur. The Chairperson has the authority to enact an immediate suspension. Alternatively, in certain circumstances he/she may issue a final Chairperson’s warning to the perpetrator.
In the aftermath of a bullying case and as a part of the follow up process, the relevant teacher will look at the following factors:
- Has the bullying behaviour ceased;
- Have the issues between the parties been resolved as far as is practicable;
- Have the relationships between the parties been restored as far as is practicable;
- What feedback has been received from the parties involved, their parent(s)/guardian(s)s or the school Principal or Deputy Principal
- Do you need to conduct follow-up meetings with the relevant parties involved
As directed by the DES the relevant teacher must use the official recording template shown in Appendix 2 to record the bullying behaviour in the following instances:
- 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; and
- b) in cases where the bullying behaviour is a serious breach of the schools code of behaviour it must be recorded and reported immediately to the Principal or Deputy Principal as applicable.
When the recording template is completed, it will be retained in the Principal’s office.
Complaints procedures for Parents/Guardians
- 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) will 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 will advise the parent(s)/guardian(s) of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.
The School’s Programme of Support
The school may access the following supports for pupils affected by bullying (both victims and those involved in bullying behaviour):
- Regular reinforcement of Shield Statements
- Code of Behaviour (DFL System) – Pupil of Week, Most Improved
- Class Circle Time as part of SPHE
- Restorative Practice Techniques
- No Blame Approach – supporting both parties without apportioning blame
- Referral to school Care Team – focus on ‘at-risk’ pupils
- Close monitoring of pupils (those bullying and those being bullied) on yard/in canteen in the weeks following an incident of bullying
- Social groups will be provided where possible for children deemed at risk as part of the SEN provision in the school
- Provision of opportunities in/outside class to participate in activities designed to raise self-esteem, to develop friendship and social skills and thereby build resilience (as per SPHE programme)
- Individual Behaviour Plans –School Support Plans
- Access to Support Teacher – facilitation of self-esteem building activities
- Afterschool clubs will be provided for example – Homework Club or Sports/Arts Club
- Referral to after school clubs – CASPr, Foundations, Belvedere, Hill Street
- School based support provided by NYP1
- Play Therapy is provided in the school
- Information re any past bullying issues will be passed on to new teachers in the September Handover Meeting
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
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 travelling community
This policy was originally adopted by the Board of Management on April 24th 2014.
Availability of Policy
This policy has been made available to school personnel and published on the school website. A copy of this policy will be made available to the DES and the patron on request
This policy and its implementation will be reviewed by the Board of Management annually. Written notification that the review has been completed will be made available to school personnel and published on the school website. A record of the review will be made available to the DES and the patron on request.
Supporting your child in relation to bullying
- Teaching your child to say “No” in a good assertive tone of voice will help deal with many situations. A child’s self -image and body language may send out messages to potential bullies
- Parents should approach their child’s teacher by appointment if the bullying is school related. It is important for you to understand that bullying in school can be difficult for teachers to detect because it often happens behind the teacher’s back. Teachers will appreciate you talking to them. School bullying requires that parents and teachers work together for a resolution
- Often parents advise their children to “hit back” at the bully if the abuse is physical. Instead of this message we would encourage you to talk to your child about CALM….. Teaching children to tell and be more assertive is far more positive and effective
- It is important to be realistic. It will not be possible for a single child to assert his/her rights if attacked by a group. Children should be advised to get away and tell in this type of situation
- Keep a log of incidents to help you get a sense of how serious the problem is. Many children with a little help and support can overcome this quickly
What if your child is bullying?
- Do not panic. Focus on staying calm and listening to what your child is saying
- This may be a temporary response to something else in your child’s life e.g. bereavement in the family, problem at home, birth of a sibling etc. Give your child and opportunity to discuss anything that may be upsetting him/her.
- Don’t punish bullying by being a bully yourself. Hitting and verbal attack will make the situation worse. Talk to your child and try to find out if there is a problem. Explain how the victim felt. Try to get the child to understand the victim’s point of view. This may take some time.
- Bullies offer suffer low self- esteem. Take every opportunity to praise and affirm good, respectful, considerate behaviour. Focus on the positive
- Talk to your child’s teacher and find out more about your child’s behaviour in school. The teacher can provide you with help and support in tackling the negative behaviour. Consistency of approach between you and teacher is very important
- If the situation is serious you may need to ask the school or G.P to refer your child for further guidance and support to local child guidance services
Appendix 2: Template for recording bullying behaviour
- Name of pupil being bullied and class group
- Name(s) and class (es) of pupil(s) engaged in bullying behaviour
3. Source of bullying concern/report (tick relevant box(es))*
|4. Location of incidents (tick relevant box(es))*
- Name of person(s) who reported the bullying concern
- Type of Bullying Behaviour (tick relevant box(es)) *
|Damage to Property
- Where behaviour is regarded as identity-based bullying, indicate the relevant category:
|Membership of Traveller community
- Is the pupil(s) engaged in bullying on the school SEN register? ___________________________
- Brief Description of bullying behaviour and its impact
- Details of actions taken
Signed ______________________________ (Relevant Teacher) Date ___________________________
Date submitted to Principal/Deputy Principal ___________________