Anti-Bullying Policy

Anti-Bullying Policy Caherconlish N.S.

  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 Caherconlish National School has adopted the following Anti-Bullying policy within the framework of the school’s overall Code of Behaviour.The Code of Behaviour is used to address isolated instances of anti-social 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. ( Circular 0045-2013)..
  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 indeed all members of the broader school community. It 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 behaviour in a non-threatening environment; and
    • 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; and
    • explicitly address the issues of cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying (in an age appropriate manner with due regard to the Catholic Ethos of the school).
  • Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils;
  • Supports for staff;
  • Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies); and
  • On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy.
  1. 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 and
  • 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.

This policy acknowledges that bullying can take many forms:

Pupil <->Pupil

                                                                                Staff <->Pupil

                                                                           Staff <-> Staff

                                                                                Staff <-> BoM

                                                                                Staff <-> Parents

                                                                                BoM <-> Parents

The appropriate steps to follow in the instance of a bullying incident, in any of these cases, are dealt with in section 6 of this policy.

Caherconlish National School acknowledges that there are three parties involved in bullying – those who bully, those who are bullied and those who witness the bullying.  All concerned will bear this in mind when dealing with bullying incidences and try to support and work with all parties involved.

In Caherconlish N.S. due cognisance is given to the developmental needs of pupils with special educational needs (SEN) in the implementation of our Anti-Bullying policy with a shared understanding within our school community of the need to differentiate both methodologies used to facilitate pupils with SEN understanding of what constitutes bullying behaviour and in addressing bullying behaviour enacted by pupils with SEN.

Examples of General Bullying Behaviours which apply to all types of Bullying

  • Harassment based on all nine grounds in the Equality Legislation (Gender, Civil Status, Family Status, Sexual Orientation, Religion, Age, Disability, Race, Membership of the Travelling Community.)
  • 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
  • Invasion of personal space
  • Exclusion

 Examples of Cyber Bullying

Denigration: Spread 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 is then posted online.
  • Outing: Posting or sharing of any confidential or compromising information or images.
  • Exclusion: Purposefully excluding someone from an online group.
  • Cyber Stalking: Ongoing harassment or denigration that causes a person considerable fear for his/ her safety.
  • Silent telephone/mobile calls
  • Abusive telephone/mobile calls
  • Abusive text messages
  • Abusive Communication on any form of social networking/ communication technology.

Homophobic/ Gender Based Bullying

  • Spreading rumours about a person’s sexual orientation
  • Taunting a person about their sexual orientation
  • Name calling in a derogatory manner
  • Physical Intimidation
  • Threats

 

Race, nationality, ethnic background and membership of the Travelling Community

  • Discrimination, prejudice, comments or insults about colour, nationality, culture, social class, religious beliefs, ethnic or traveler background.

Exclusion on the base of any of the above

Bullying also includes manipulating relationships as a means of bullying: Behaviours include

  • Malicious Gossip
  • Isolation & Exclusion
  • Ignoring
  • Excluding from the group
  • Spreading Rumours
  • Breaking Confidence
  • Talking Loud Enough for the victim to hear
  • Using the term nerd in a derogatory way

Sexual

  • Unwelcome or inappropriate sexual comments/ touching
  • Harassment

 Special Educational Needs/ Disability

 Name Calling

  • Taunting others because of their disability or learning needs
  • 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

 Reporting Bullying Instances

  • All members of the school community are responsible for reporting instances of bullying to the relevant teacher, including caretakers, secretarial staff, SNA’s.
  • All teaching staff are responsible for actively engaging with the Anti-Bullying policy of the school and the staged approach as highlighted in the policy.
  • Both the Deputy Principal and Principal will actively support and promote the staged approach of the anti-bullying policy and will engage with staff members on Stage 2 of the anti-bullying policy.
  • Refer to stage 6: Procedures for Investigating and Dealing with Bullying
  1. The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber-bullying and identity based bullying) that will be used by Caherconlish N.S. are as follows:
  • Active supervision and monitoring of classrooms, corridors, school grounds, school tours and extracurricular activities. Non teaching staff are responsible to engage actively when in a supervisory role (SNA’s) and to report instances of bullying to the relevant teacher. Active reporting of instances of bullying is expected in the cases of other ancillary staff.
  • A school wide approach to the fostering of respect for all members of the school community.
  • The promotion and the value of diversity to address issues of prejudice and stereotyping and to highlight the unacceptability of bullying behaviour.
  • The fostering and enhancing of self esteem in all pupils in both curricular and extra curricular activities
  • Pupils will be provided with opportunities to develop a positive sense of self worth through formal and informal interactions.
  • Whole staff professional development will be facilitated in relation to what bullying is, how it impacts on people’s lives and the need to respond to it with both prevention and intervention strategies.
  • School wide awareness training on all aspects of bullying to include pupils, parents and the broader school community.
  • The use of yard mentoring and buddy systems.
  • The Development of an Anti-Bullying code to be displayed in classrooms and prominent areas of the school.
  • Engagement annually with Amnesty International ‘Friendship Week,’ to actively promote positive relationship building skills and bullying prevention.
  • Encouraging a culture of ‘telling,’ with particular emphasis on the importance of the role of bystanders. Ensuring that pupils know who and how to tell in all class situations, which is teacher directed with the classroom code of behaviour at the beginning of each school year with consistent reinforcement throughout the school year.
  • The establishment of clear protocols in relation to parents reporting issues of bullying, which is by appointment with the relevant teacher. In no circumstances will a parent be met without appointment leaving a class/ group of children unsupervised.
  • The school has an Acceptable Use Policy; all members of the school community will be made aware of the contents of this policy through the school website.

Implementation of Curricula

  • The full and consistent implementation of the Stay Safe,RSE and SPHE programmes at all class levels.
  • Staff will actively engage with training opportunities as appropriate and whole school professional development on these programmes.
  • The school will promote the active involvement of other professionals in the community in relation to anti-bullying the local gardaí, health care professionals.etc

Links to other school policies

Other School policies that are particularly relevant to bullying in Caherconlish N.S. are the Code of Behaviour, Child Protection Policy, Acceptable Use Policy, procedures in relation to the Monitoring and Supervision of Pupils,Citical Incidentas Policy and the Attendance Policy.

  1. 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 apportion blame.) Every effort will be made to ensure that all involved (pupils, parents/ guardians and the broader school community) understand this approach from the outset.

Reporting Bullying Behaviour

  • Any pupil, parent or guardian may bring a bullying incident to any teacher in the school.
  • All reports will be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher.
  • Teaching and non teaching staff must report any incidents of bullying witnessed by them to the relevant teacher.

Investigating and Dealing with Incidents: Style of Approach

Child to Child Bullying

  • In investigating and dealing with bullying, the relevant teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether or not bullying has occurred and how best the situation might be resolved.
  • Parents and pupils are required to actively cooperate with any investigation and to 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 problem solving approach.
  • Where possible incidents should be investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all.
  • 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 analysising incidents of bullying behaviour, the relevant teacher should seek answers to the questions what, why, 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 the group should be supported through the possible pressures that they may face from the other members of the group after the interview by the teacher: it may be appropriate or helpful to ask those involved to write down their account of the incidents.
  • In the case where it has been determined by the relevant teacher that bullying has occurred, the parents/ guardians of the parties should be contacted when deemed appropriate by said teacher, to inform them and to explain the actions being taken. The teacher should also advise the parents/ guardians of ways in which they can reinforce or support the actions being taken in 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 schools anti-bullying policy and every effort 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 that in any situation where disciplinary sanctions are required; this is a private matter between the pupil being disciplined, his or her parent (s)/ guardians 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 the 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 parents/guardians or the school Principal/ 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/ guardian is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, the parents/guardians must be referred, as appropriate to the schools complaints procedures.
  • In the event that a parent/ guardian has exhausted the schools complaints procedures and is still not satisfied, the school must advise the parent/guardian 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 formal manner.

In Caherconlish N.S. the procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviours 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 on the school Incident record sheets and given to the relevant teacher.
  • While all 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.
  • These records will be kept in the class file. Teacher discretion will be used as to whether the these records will be kept for longer than the duration of the school year, with due cognisance of the nature and frequency of the incidents recorded.

Formal Stage 2

The relevant teacher must  record the bullying behaviour in the following circumstances:

  1. a) In cases where he/she considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 days of determining whether or not bullying behaviour has occurred and
  2. b) In the case of repeated incidences of serious misbehaviours as specified in the Code of Behaviour
  • Behaviour that is hurtful (including bullying, harassment, discrimination and victimisation)
  • Behaviour that interferes with teaching and learning
  • Threats or physical hurt to another person
  • Damage to property
  • Theft

 

and/or isolated incidences of gross misbehavior

  • Assault on a teacher or pupil
  • Serious theft
  • Serious damage to property

When reports are recorded, it must be retained by the relevant  teacher. A copy may be retained by the Principal. Discretion will be used in relation to how long these records will be kept in relation to the nature and frequency of the bullying behaviours enacted, but all such records will be kept for the duration of the school year in which they occurred.

 Established Intervention Strategies

  • Teacher interviews with all pupils
  • Negotiating agreements between pupils and following these up by actively monitoring progress.
  • Working with parents from the earliest opportunity to support school interventions
  • No blame approach
  • Circle Time
  • The consistent implementation of Stay Safe/ SPHE and RSE guidelines at appropriate class levels. The use of differentiated programmes for children with SEN as appropriate in Resource Time in a small Group setting.
  • Scenario Role Playing/ Drama/ Social Stories
  • The consistent implementation of the Alive O programme and the fostering of principles of the broader school ethos by all members of the school community.
  • Consultation where appropriate with the schools Educational Psychologist.

Bullying by Adults

  • In the case of intra-staff bullying, Caherconlish National School will adopt the procedures outlined in Section C (c2) of the INTO booklet: ‘Working Together: Procedures and Policies for Positive Staff Relations’. A copy of this document is available for free download on the INTO website.
  • In the case of Teacher – Child bullying, a complaint should in the first instance be raised with the teacher in question by the parent/guardian of the child if possible and then if necessary referred to the Principal. Where it has not been possible to agree a framework for resolution, the matter should be referred in writing by both parties to the Board of Management for investigation.
  • In the case of Parent – Teacher bullying, the Principal should be informed in the first instance, and if deemed necessary the Board of Management should subsequently be informed in writing.
  • In the case of bullying that relates to the Staff/Parents – BoM guidelines as set out by the INTO and CPSMA shall be followed and advice from these bodies will be sought on a case by case basis.
  • In the case of Parent/Visitor to the school – Child bullying, the complaint should be referred in the first instance to the child’s class teacher and subsequently to the Principal if unresolved.
  • In the case of Principal – Parent/ Child bullying, the matter should be raised with the Principal if possible, or referred to the Chairperson of the Board of Management.
  1. In Caherconlish N.S. the programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:
  • Group Work such as Circle Time
  • The systematic use of teacher directed lessons to raise self esteem/ promote friendship/ develop social skills/ build emotional resilience and facilitate the development of emotional intelligence on a whole school basis.
  • The use of relaxation/ meditation techniques on a whole school basis
  • Buddy/ Peer Mentoring System
  • Discrete allocation of Resource time where practicable to build self esteem
  • Consultation with the relevant health professionals in relation to supporting pupils affected by bullying where appropriate.
  • The consistent implementation of Stay Safe/ SPHE/ RSE programmes on a whole school basis.
  • The facilitation of a shared understanding on a whole basis 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 the appropriate Supervision and Monitoring policies and practices are in place to both prevent and deal with bullying behaviour and to facilitate early intervention and diffusion 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 Traveller community.

  1. 10. This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on ________________ [date].
  2. 11. This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website and provided to the Parents’ Association. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the patron if requested.

 

12This 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 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.

 

Signed: ____________________________________                   Signed: ___________________________

(Chairperson of Board of Management)                                                    (Principal)

 

Date: ______________                                                                     Date: __________________

 

Date of next review: _______________

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