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 NEWB, the Board of Management of Scoil Naomh Lorcáin 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. This anti-bullying policy operates in conjunction with the Code of Behaviour, which is used to address isolated instances of anti-social behaviour. The policy was formulated in accordance with the Education Act 1998, Section 15, (1), (2), Section 21, (1), (3), (4), Section 23 (2), (3) and in accordance with Circular 20/90 of the Department of Education and Rule 130 of the Rules for National Schools of the Department of Education.

 

  1. 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 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.
  • 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.

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 school acknowledges that there are three parties involved in bullying – those who bully, those who are bullied and those who witness the bullying.  Staff and teachers bear this in mind when dealing with bullying incidences and try to support and work with all parties involved.

Our school believes that each student has a right to an education free from fear, annoyances and intimidation.

Bullying in any form is not tolerated.

Aims of the Policy

  • To foster a school ethos of mutual and self-respect
  • To raise awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behaviour
  • To outline, promote and raise awareness of preventative approaches that can be used in response to reported incidences of bullying
  • To develop a programme of support for those affected by bullying behaviour and for those involved in bullying behaviour
  • To outline procedures for noting and reporting instances of bullying behaviour
  • To outline procedures for investigating and dealing with incidents of bullying behaviour

The following signs/symptoms may suggest that a child is being bullied:-

  • anxiety about travelling to and from school
  • fear of going out to the yard at school break times
  • dreading going to school each day
  • loss of trust in friends
  • loss of confidence and self-esteem
  • unexplained or poorly explained physical injury
  • deterioration in school work, loss of concentration, loss of enthusiasm and interest in school
  • pattern of physical illnesses e.g. headaches, stomach aches
  • unexplained changes either in mood or behaviour. These may be particularly noticeable before returning to school after weekends or more especially after the school holidays
  • visible signs of anxiety or distress e.g. stammering, withdrawing, nightmares, difficulty in sleeping, crying, not eating, vomiting, bedwetting
  • possessions missing or damaged
  • increased requests for money or stealing (to meet extortion demands)
  • increased absence from school

 

Why do children bully?

Children become bullies for many reasons, for example they may be:

  • feeling insecure
  • experiencing bullying themselves
  • finding it difficult to fit in with other children
  • feeling under pressure to succeed
  • experiencing humiliation and in turn humiliate other children
  • lacking boundaries and their behaviour may be going unchallenged at home
  • experiencing physical, sexual or emotional abuse.

 

 

  1. The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying is the class teacher.
  1. The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber- bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying) that will be used by the school are as follows (see Section 6.5 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools):

The school staff will foster an atmosphere of friendship, respect and tolerance. Children’s self-esteem will be developed through celebrating individual differences, achievements, acknowledging and rewarding good behaviour and manners and providing opportunities for success throughout the curriculum and school. Opportunities are taken to promote positive self esteem, by highlighting pupil achievement in class, at assemblies, on the school blog or by rewarding positive behaviour with a green card in line with the school’s Code of Behaviour.

Similarly the school’s Code of Behaviour emphasises the promotion of respectful behaviour.

Teachers will help children develop empathy by discussing feelings and trying to put themselves in the place of others.

Children are made aware that bullying is an unacceptable form of behaviour. This is done explicitly through the Stay Safe Programme, the Walk Tall Programme (c.f. school policy SPHE). Opportunities also arise in Religion lessons and other subjects;

The SPHE curriculum makes specific provision for exploring bullying as well as the inter-related areas of belonging and integrating, communication, conflict, friendship, personal safety and relationships.

The Stay Safe programme at primary level, is a personal safety skills programme which seeks to enhance children’s self-protection skills including their ability to recognise and cope with bullying.

RSE- to discuss relationships, sexuality and identity based bullying at an age appropriate level in accordance with the Catholic Ethos of the school.

Use of opportunities that present in all curricular areas to foster an attitude of respect for all: to promote the value of diversity; to address prejudice and stereotyping and to highlight the unacceptability of bullying behaviour.

Comprehensive supervision and monitoring measures are in place. See Supervision Policy.

Non-teaching staff are encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them.

Cyber-bullying – The Webwise Internet Safety programme is used, all children sign an acceptable use policy with their parents in relation to the safe use of IT at school. The local Garda Liaison Officer speaks to 4th-6th class about Cyber Bullying. Advice on recognising, preventing and dealing with bullying including cyber bullying is included in the pupil’s journal.

Sporting Activities to channel and learn how to control aggression

A specific focus on the needs of children with disabilities or SEN to promote inclusion, focusing on developing social skills, paying attention to key moments such as transitioning from primary to post-primary and cultivating a good school culture which has respect for all and helping one another as central.

Supports for staff- annual review of policy and information on how to recognise the signs of bullying, implement effective strategies for preventing bullying and where appropriate, intervene effectively in bullying cases.

Temporary and substitute staff will be made aware of this policy and of the school’s Code of Behaviour through the Induction of Staff Booklet.

Use of relevant  Anti Bullying Websites such as http://www.antibullyingcampaign.ie/

 

  1. The school’s procedures for investigation, follow-up and recording of bullying behaviour and the established intervention strategies used by the school for dealing with cases of bullying behaviour are as follows (see Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools) :

Reporting Bullying

 

How to report

 

  • Parents/guardian, pupils, non-teaching staff, teachers, members of local community should inform the school of incidents of bullying they hear of or witness. This can be done verbally or in writing.
  • All reports of bullying, including anonymous reports, no matter how trivial must be investigated and dealt with by the teacher.
  • In the case of serious bullying, or where the relevant teacher considers that bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days after he/she has determined that bullying behaviour has occurred, it must be recorded by the relevant teacher in the recording template and a copy provided to the Principal/ Deputy Principal.

 

Procedure to deal with a situation

  • All students are made aware of the Anti-Bullying Policy formally by Principal each year.
  • A copy of the policy is available on request.
  • Students are reminded regularly of our Anti-Bullying policy.
  • Students are encouraged to report all cases of bullying. (Principal, Class Teacher or Special Education Teacher will deal with the issue and in each case establish:
  • The verdict
  • The intent
  • The seriousness
  • The effect on the bullied student
  • Rehabilitation of bullied student and person(s) involved in incident
  • In each case, the students who are bullied and who bully are helped to deal with the issue by the appropriate school authorities.

 

How to investigate bullying?

  • Class teacher investigates incident of bullying outside the classroom by speaking to victim and bully separately in a calm, sensitive way.
  • If a group is involved, each pupil is interviewed individually and later as a group.
  • When it is ascertained that a pupil has been bullying, the pupil is made aware of a serious misbehaviour.
  • Parents of bully and victim are met separately by the class teacher
  • Parents of the pupil who is bullying are asked to help resolve the problem.
  • If necessary, further meetings are arranged with parents/guardians of both bully and victim and Principal –in line with our code of behaviour
  • If the incident is unresolved, it is referred to Board of Management.
  • A record of reporting, interviews, meetings and conclusions is made, signed and dated by the teacher or staff member reporting.

From the guidelines:

(i) The primary aim for the relevant teacher 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);

(ii) In investigating and dealing with bullying, the teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best the situation might be resolved;

(iii) All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher. 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;

(iv) Non-teaching staff such as secretaries, special needs assistants (SNAs), bus escorts, caretakers, cleaners must be encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher;

(v) Parents 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;

(vi) It is very important that all involved (including each set of pupils and parents) understand the above approach from the outset;

(vii) Teachers should take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach when dealing with incidents of alleged bullying behaviour reported by pupils, staff or parents;

(viii) Incidents are generally best investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved;

(ix) 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;

(x) 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;

(xi) 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;

(xii) Each member of a group should be supported through the possible pressures that they may face them from the other members of the group after interview by the teacher;

(xiii) It may also be appropriate or helpful to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident(s);

(xiv) In cases where it has been determined by the relevant teacher that bullying behaviour has occurred, 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). The school should give parents an opportunity of discussing ways in which they can reinforce or support the actions being taken by the school and the supports for their pupils;

(xv) 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;

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

(xvii) 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. This can have a therapeutic effect;

(xviii) In cases where the relevant teacher considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days after he/she has determined that bullying behaviour has occurred, it must be recorded by the relevant teacher in the recording template provided.

(xix) 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; and

 Any feedback received from the parties involved, their parents or the school Principal or Deputy Principal;

(xx) Where a parent is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, the parents must be referred, as appropriate, to the school’s complaints procedures;

(xxi) In the event that a parent has exhausted the school’s complaints procedures and is still not satisfied, the school must advise the parents of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.

  1. The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows (see Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools) :

The school has the support of a NEPS psychologist in preparing and providing a programme of support for children who have been bullied and for those who are involved in bullying behaviour.

The Stay Safe, Walk Tall, SPHE, English and Grow in Love/ Alive O Programme offer opportunities for teachers to enhance pupil’s self worth and to develop their friendship and social skills.

School staff will avail of Continuous Professional Development opportunities provided in relation to preventing bullying behaviour and supporting those affected by bullying.

The school staff will foster an atmosphere of friendship, respect and tolerance. Children’s self-esteem will be developed through celebrating individual differences, achievements, acknowledging and rewarding good behaviour and manners and providing opportunities for success throughout the curriculum and school. Opportunities are taken to promote positive self esteem, by highlighting pupil achievement in class, at assemblies, on the school blog or by rewarding positive behaviour with a green card in line with the school’s Code of Behaviour.

Where necessary a referral may be sought by the school for appropriate counselling where appropriate. Referrals are sought with parental permission. Information on counselling services available will be passed on to parents or guardians. It will be the parent/guardians’ responsibility to access these services for their child.

 

 

 

 

Cyber-bullying

Cyber-bullying is a form of bullying which is carried out through an internet service such as email, a chat room, a discussion group, online social networking, instant messaging or web pages. It can also include bullying through mobile phone technologies such as texting.

Cyber-bullying can happen to anyone and the bully can act anonymously if they want. People can also be bullied online by groups of people such as class groups or collective members of an online community.

If a child is being cyber-bullied it is possible that they are feeling powerless and isolated.

All of the information and support regarding bullying applies to cyber-bullying.

In line with our School’s Code of Behaviour pupils are not permitted to have mobile phones at school. All students and their parents sign and agree to an Acceptable Use Policy before using the Internet at school.

 

Things a parent/child can do about cyber bullying:

  • Keep a record (including time and date) this may help in finding out who is sending the messages.
  • Don’t reply – the situation may get worse if your child replies to any bullying messages. By replying the bully gets what he or she wants…a reaction. Often, if your child doesn’t reply the bully will leave them alone.
  • Tell someone – ensure your child knows that they should talk to someone they trust, a parent, friend, or teacher.
  • Contact your child’s mobile phone or internet service provider and report what is happening – they can help you block messages or calls from certain senders.
  • Seek support if messages are threatening or serious – if the cyber-bullying becomes threatening seek support from services in your area for example the Gardaí.
  • Change your child’s contact details – get a new user name for the internet, a new email account, a new mobile phone number and ensure your child only gives them out to their closest friends.
  • Keep your username and passwords private – ensure your child keeps his/her personal information private so it becomes less likely that someone will misuse it.

 

Bullying by Adults

In the case of intra-staff bullying, Scoil Naomh Lorcáin 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 following the agreed grievance procedure for our school.  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 Teacher – Parent bullying, the parent should follow the school’s grievance procedures.

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. Grievance procedures should be followed.

Roles and Responsibilities

 

The implementation of this policy will be the responsibility of each class teacher, supervising teacher and non-teaching staff who will endeavour to uphold its aims and follow the procedures as stated above.

 

The Principal has overall responsibility for the implementation of the policy.

 

The Board of Management is responsible for ensuring that all members of the school community are enabled to deal effectively with Bullying. The Board will ensure that proper supervisory and monitoring measures are in place to prevent Bullying and to deal with incidents appropriately as they arise.

 

It is the responsibility of Parents/Guardians to encourage their children to behave in an appropriate manner; to adhere to the rules of the school. Parents can also watch out for signs that their child is being bullied or bullying others. They have an important role to play in helping to build their child’s self-esteem and confidence.

 

  1. Supervision and Monitoring of Pupils

 

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

 

 

  1. Prevention of Harassment

 

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

 

  1. This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on 8th of April 2014

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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 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: _______________

 

 

 

 

                     

Template for recording bullying behaviour         

 

  1. Name of pupil/adult being bullied and class group

 

Name _________________________________________Class__________________

 

  1. Name(s) and class(es) of pupil(s) teacher/staff member/parent engaged in bullying behaviour
_________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________

 

3. Source of bullying concern/report (tick relevant box(es))*     4. Location of incidents (tick relevant box(es))*    
Pupil concerned     Playground    
Other Pupil     Classroom    
Parent     Corridor    
Teacher     Toilets    
Other     School Bus    
      Other    
  1. Name of person(s) who reported the bullying concern
 

 

 

  1. Type of Bullying Behaviour (tick relevant box(es)) *
Physical Aggression   Cyber-bullying  
Damage to Property   Intimidation  
Isolation/Exclusion   Malicious Gossip  
Name Calling   Other (specify)  

 

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

 

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

 

         

 

  1. Brief Description of bullying behaviour and its impact
 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Details of actions taken
 

 

 

 

 

 

Signed ______________________________ (Relevant Teacher)   Date ___________________________

 

Date submitted to Principal/Deputy Principal ___________________

 

 

 

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