In accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 the Board of Management of Scoil Bhríde JNS 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.
The Board of Management
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 committed to the following key principles of best practice in preventing and tackling bullying behaviour:
- A positive school culture and climate
- 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
- There should be effective leadership
- There should be a school-wide approach
- There should be a shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact
- There should be implementation of education and prevention strategies (including awareness raising measures) builds empathy, respect and resilience in pupils
- There should be effective supervision and monitoring of pupils
- Staff need support from management in implementing anti-bullying policies
- There should be consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour
- There should be on-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy.
The school staff will foster an atmosphere of friendship, respect and tolerance. Children’s self-esteem will be developed through celebrating achievements, acknowledging and rewarding good behaviour and manners and providing opportunities for success throughout the curriculum and school. Teachers will help pupils to develop empathy by discussing their feelings with them. Relationships with pupils will be based on 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 incidence of bullying and they will investigate all disclosed incidents.
Teachers will discuss the school’s anti-bullying policy with the pupils in an appropriate manner and use behavioural management strategies which focus on problem solving to enable pupils to take an active role in finding a solution to problems.
The curriculum of the school will be used to educate all pupils against bullying behaviour.
Definition of Bullying
- 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 conduct, 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.
Dealing with Bullying Behaviour
Responding to Bullying
The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:
- Support will be provided for anyone who is bullied. A victim will be assured that the school community will help them and put monitoring procedures in place to safeguard them.
- The school will inform parents/guardians of reported incidents and of the measures being taken. Care will be taken to respect anonymity in all cases.
- Parents and pupils are required to co-operate with any investigation and assist the school in resolving any issues and restoring, as far as practicable, the relationships of the parties as quickly as possible. (see pg 21 Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools DES 2013)
- Help and support will be sought for a bully, informing his/her parents or guardians and continuing to work with him/her in order to modify his/her behaviour. Bullies may be excluded from the playground at lunch break or subject to special monitoring procedures and if bullying continues they may be suspended in accordance with procedures.
- Disciplinary sanctions are a private matter between the bullying pupil, parents and the school.
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 every intervention where possible.
Serious Cases of Bullying
Serious incidences of bullying behaviour will, in accordance with the Children First Guidelines and the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools, be referred to the HSE Children and Family Services and /or Gardaí as appropriate.
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.
Policy ratified by the Board of Management in June 2014
Dealing with Bullying Behaviour
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 supervising teacher for investigating. This reporting may be done by the pupil, parent or a friend. All reported incidents will be noted, investigated and treated as circumstances require.
The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying is (are) as follows:
- Class Teacher
- Principal/Deputy Principal
- Any other teacher e.g. Resource/Learning Support teacher or yard teacher where appropriate.
The following are step-by-step agreed procedures for dealing with children bullying other children.
- Remaining calm. Reacting emotionally may add to the bully’s fun and strengthen his/her ability to control a situation. Also, reacting aggressively or punitively gives the message that it is alright to bully if you have the power.
- Take the incident seriously. Attempt to get both sides of the story. Interview those involved separately. Ask: Who, What, Why, Where and When?
- Keep notes where necessary.
- Take action as quickly as possible.
- Reassure the victim(s); don’t make them feel inadequate or foolish.
- Offer concrete help, advice and support to the victim.
- Make it plain to the bully that you see this behaviour as bullying and that you disapprove of this behaviour.
- Encourage the bully/bullies to see the victim’s point of view.
- Set realistic, firm and consistent guidelines to help the child control his/her behaviour.
- Ensure that the child apologises, either in person or in writing to the child he/she bullies.
- Ensure that the victim is happy with the apology.
- Where appropriate, address the general topic of bullying with the class e.g. Stay safe, Circle Time.