St. Boden’s National School
Anti - Bullying Policy
- 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 An Cheathrair Álainn 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 School,s which were published in September 2013.
- 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;
promotes respectful relationships across the school community;
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.
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 andidentity-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.
The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying is (are) as follows
The relevant teacher for investigating and dealing with bullying is the class teacher. The class teacher may if necessary seek the help of the year head, Principal or Deputy Principal.
- 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
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, including involvement in extra-curricular activities and clubs. Teachers will discuss the school's anti-bullying policy with the pupils and focus on developing pupils’ awareness and understanding of bullying, including its causes and effects and will deal explicitly with the issue of identity–based bullying including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying. Teachers will use behavioural management strategies which focus on problem solving and enable pupils to take an active role in finding a solution to problems. Teachers will help pupils to develop empathy by discussing feelings and trying to put themselves in the place of others. Pupils will discuss how they get on with other people and how to form positive attitudes towards other people. This will include a discussion of what friendship really is c/f Journal. Relationships with pupils will be based on mutual respect and trust so that pupils will have confidence in the school staff. Teachers will be vigilant, respond sensitively and caringly to pupils who disclose incidents of bullying and investigate all disclosed incidents of bullying. Cyber–based bullying will be addressed through prevention and awareness raising measures which focus on educating pupils on appropriate on-line behaviour, how to stay safe while on-line and also on developing a culture of reporting any concerns about cyber-bullying.
The formal curriculum of the school will be used to educate all pupils against bullying behaviour. Anti-bullying issues may be raised through the school religion programme, the Social Personal and Health Education programme, the Stay Safe Programme, the Arts and/or Circle time.
Measures attempting to decrease the likelihood of bullying for pupils with disabilities or with S.E.N. will include improving inclusion, focusing on developing social skills and paying attention to key moments such as transitioning from primary to post-primary.
Parents will be reminded to
- Encourage positive behaviour and discourage negative behaviour both at home and at school.
- Encourage children to solve difficulties without resorting to aggression.
- Encourage children to share, to be kind, to be caring, and to be understanding towards others.
- Watch out for signs and symptoms that their child is being bullied or is bullying others.
- Look for unusual behaviour in their children. For example, they may suddenly not wish to attend school, feel ill regularly, or not complete work to their normal standard
- Not dismiss their instincts as being wrong
- Always take an active role in their child’s education.
- Enquire how their day has gone, who they have spent their time with, how lunch time was spent etc
- Discuss the school's anti-bullying policy with her/him.
- Inform the school IMMEDIATELY if they feel their child may be a victim of bullying behaviour. The complaint will be taken seriously and appropriate action will follow.
- Tell their child there is nothing wrong with him or her. It is not his or her fault that they are being bullied
- Support the school in its efforts to prevent and treat bullying.
Pupils are expected to be tolerant and to have mutual respect for each other. Pupils should report incidents of bullying to their parents and teachers.
WHAT CAN YOU DO IF YOU ARE BEING BULLIED?
Remember that your silence is the bully’s greatest weapon!
a) Tell yourself that you do not deserve to be bullied, and that it is WRONG!
b) Be proud of who you are. It is good to be individual.
c) Try not to show that you are upset. It is hard but a bully thrives on someone’s fear.
d) Stay with a group of friends/people. There is safety in numbers.
e) Be assertive - shout "No!" Walk confidently away. Go straight to a teacher or member of staff.
f) Fighting back may make things worse. If you decide to fight back, talk to a teacher or parent/guardian first.
g) Generally it is best to tell an adult you trust straight away. You will get immediate support.
The múinteoirí will take you seriously and will deal with bullies in a way which will end the bullying and will not make things worse for you
Cyber Bullying and Prevention Strategies:
Children’s access to the internet and electronic devices in the school will be strictly governed by the school’s ICT Acceptable Use Policy, which promotes responsible internet usage and interactions.
The school strategies to educate and prevent cyberbullying are:
- Educating children about appropriated online behaviours and how to stay safe online.
Develop a culture of reporting cyberbullying
Implementation of the schools Acceptable Use Policy
Implementation of the Webwise Programme through its integration into the SPHE curriculum on an annual basis (5th & 6th class).
Integration of Cyber-Bullying into the SPHE Curriculum on an annual basis.
Emphasising Cyber-Bullying as a key theme during the school’s Anti-Bullying Week.
Emphasising Cyber-Bullying as a key theme during the staffs Anti-Bullying Professional Development.
Emphasising Cyber-Bullying during parent Anti-Bullying training or talks.
Surveying parents and children on cyber-bullying.
After one incident of cyberbullying a teacher / year head discussion will take place with the children involved.
Should the incident be deemed unintentional, a note will be sent to the parents of the victim and the perpetrator notifying them of the incidents in their homework journal.
Should the incident be deemed intentional, a note will be sent home to the victim and the perpetrator requesting a meeting with the principal.
Serious issues may results in suspension.
The school’s procedures for investigation, follow-up and recording of bullying behaviour and the established intervention strategies used by the school for dealing with cases of bullying behaviour are as follows
Procedures for Reporting and Investigating Bullying Incidents
Bullying incidents should be reported to the class teacher and/or the supervising teacher, for investigation. This reporting may be done by the pupil, parent or a friend. All reported incidents, including anonymous reports, which are serious or are part of a pattern of behaviour, will be noted, investigated and treated as circumstances require. Serious cases of bullying will be reported to the Principal. Reports of bullying behaviour on the way to and from school will be investigated by the Principal.
Non–teaching staff such as secretaries, special needs assistants, caretakers, cleaners will be
encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them , to the relevant teacher.
In order to assist in the prevention of bullying in our school, the Stay- Safe lessons will be taught in the third term. To ensure the safety of each child it is essential that all children are encouraged to report any incident of bullying to a responsible adult. All investigations / interviews will be conducted with sensitivity and with due regard to the rights and privacy of all pupils concerned. Minor issues will be dealt with immediately and major issues will proceed according to the Disciplinary steps.
The children will also be taught the following steps which will be implemented in the case of a bullying incident.
As per school discipline policy class teacher will have recorded incidences in pupil’s journal as they occur.
If class teacher observes a pattern of three incidences of intimidating behaviour the following steps should be implemented.
Teacher will talk to each of the children involved separately and then as a group. The incident will be noted in the perpetrator’s journal and the class teacher will keep a separate record of the event. Letter 1 of the Anti- Bullying policy is sent home, and signed by parent / guardian. Parents / guardians of victim will be informed by class teacher that the issue is being dealt with in accordance with Anti-Bullying policy.
Should another incident arise involving the same perpetrator Letter 2 of the Anti Bullying Policy will be sent home by the class year head. Parents / guardians will be invited to meet the year head to discuss the behaviour and are given a copy of the schools Anti Bullying Policy.
Class teacher will meet parents/guardians of the victim to outline the steps that have been taken to date.
Principal/Deputy Principal meets with parents/guardians of the child who is bullying.
Principal / Deputy Principal, class teacher and parent/guardian of the child who is bullying meet the Chairperson of the Board of Management. If issues are not progressing satisfactorily it may lead to Suspension/ Expulsion according to the N.E.W.B. Guidelines
Procedures for Appeal
Where a parent is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, the parents will be referred to the school’s complaints procedures
In the event that a parent has exhausted the school’s complaints procedures and is still not satisfied, the school will advise the parents of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for children
The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows
If bullying is suspected we talk to the suspected victim, the suspected bully and any witnesses. If any degree of bullying is identified, the following action will be taken
Help, support and counselling will be given as is appropriate to both the victims and the bullies:
We support the victims in the following ways:
by offering them an immediate opportunity to talk about the experience with their class teacher, or another teacher if they choose.
by informing the victims’ parents/guardians.
by offering continuing support when they feel they need it.
by arranging for them to be escorted to and from the school premises or allowing senior pupils to leave early
by following one or more of the disciplinary steps described below to prevent more bullying.
We also discipline, yet try to help the bullies in the following ways:
by talking about what happened, to discover why they became involved.
by informing the bullies’ parents/guardians.
by continuing to work with the bullies in order to get rid of prejudiced attitudes as far as possible.
by following one or more of the disciplinary steps described above to prevent more bullying.
Where appropriate, follow up meetings with the relevant parties will be arranged separately with a view to possibly bringing them together at a later date if all pupils involved are ready and agreeable. This can have a therapeutic effect.
8. Supervision and Monitoring of Pupils
The Board of Management confirms that appropriate supervision and monitoring policies and practices are in place to both prevent and deal with bullying behaviour and to facilitate early intervention where possible.
9.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.
10. This policy was adopted by the Board of Management in December 2016
11.This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website (or where none exists, is otherwise readily accessible to parents and pupils on request) and provided to the Parents’ Association (where one exists). A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the patron if requested.
12.This policy and its implementation will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every school year. Written notification that the review has been completed will be made available to school personnel, published on the school website (or where none exists, be otherwise readily accessible to parents and pupils on request) and provided to the Parents’ Association (where one exists). A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department.
Implementation Date: December, 2016.
Timetable for Review: Reviewed at end of 2017 – 2018 school year and then, every two years thereafter.
Ratification and Communication:
Ratified by the Board of Management
Circulated to ancillary staff
Circulated to all parents/guardians via internet
Published on school website.
Signed on behalf of the Board of Management by:
Chairperson of BOM