Anti-Bullying Policy

 

 Anti Bullying Policy

Introductory Statement

The Anti‐Bullying policy for Killberry N.S. was reviewed and updated by the staff on March 2012.  

Bullying affects everyone, not just the bullies and the victims.  It also affects those other

children who watch, and less aggressive pupils can be drawn in by group pressure.  Bullying is not an inevitable part of school life or a necessary part of growing up, and it rarely sorts

itself out.  It is clear that certain jokes, insults, intimidating/threatening behaviour, written abuse and violence are to be found in our society.  No one person or group, whether staff or pupil, should have to accept this type of behaviour.  Only when all issues of bullying are

addressed, will a child best be able to benefit from the opportunities available at the School.

 

 Rational

The school recognises the uniqueness of each child. It aspires to nurture the many dimensions of his/her life, so that the foundations are laid for happiness and fulfilment in later education and in adult life.

The school believes that its pupils have the right to learn in a supportive, caring and safe environment without fear of being bullied.

Aims

• To provide an environment that is caring and respectful, promoting personal growth and self-esteem

• To create a school ethos which encourages children to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour.

• To raise awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behaviour with school management, teaching and non-teaching staff, pupils and parents/guardians.

• To develop procedures for investigating and dealing with incidents of bullying behaviour.

•To develop a programme of support for those effected by bullying behaviour and for those involved in bullying behaviour.

• To continually evaluate the effectiveness of this school policy on anti‐bullying behaviour.

 

 

 

 

Definition of bullying

Dept of Education and Skills guidelines define bullying as

“repeated aggression, verbal, psychological or physical, conducted by an individual or group against others. Isolated incidents of aggressive behaviour, which should not be condoned, can scarcely be described as bullying. However, when the behaviour is systematic and ongoing it is bullying”.

(Guidelines on Countering Bullying Behaviour in Primary and Post-Primary Schools, 1993).

Indications of Bullying

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

• anxiety about travelling to and from school

• unwillingness to go to school,

• deterioration in educational performance, loss of concentration and loss of enthusiasm and interest in school;

• pattern of physical illnesses (e.g. headaches, stomach aches);

• unexplained changes either in mood or behaviour;

• visible signs of anxiety or distress – stammering, withdrawing, nightmares, difficulty in sleeping, crying, not eating, vomiting, bedwetting;

• spontaneous out-of-character comments about either pupils or teachers;

• possessions missing or damaged;

• increased requests for money or stealing money;

• unexplained bruising or cuts or damaged clothing;

• reluctance and/or refusal to say what is troubling him/her.

 

Those signs do not necessarily mean that a pupil is being bullied. If repeated or occurring in combination those signs do warrant investigation in order to establish what is affecting the pupil.

 

 

Types of Bullying

Physical: This includes punching, kicking, pushing, hitting or spitting. This also includes damaging property of a victim.

Verbal: Verbal abuse can take the form of name calling, abusive language, slander, slagging, and threats.

Psychological: This includes isolation – exclusion from discussions/ activities, use of the internet/email/mobile phone to hurt, name call etc.

extortion – obtaining money/ lunch/ sweets from a person by force or threat.

Strategies for Prevention of Bullying

There is a strong sense of community and cooperation between Board of Management, staff, pupils and parents, and each has a clear role in the prevention of bullying .

  • Through a programme of positive action, the school promotes an atmosphere of friendship, respect and tolerance. Friendship week/ awards
  • The SPHE curriculum, including the Walk Tall and Stay Safe programmes, is used throughout the school to support the anti bullying policy.
  • Positive self-esteem is fostered among the pupils by celebrating individual differences/achievements, by acknowledging and rewarding good behaviour and by providing opportunities for success.
  • Pupils are helped to develop empathy by discussing feelings and by trying to put themselves in the place of others.
  • Teachers respond sensitively to pupils who disclose incidents of bullying.
  • The school’s anti-bullying policy is discussed regularly with the pupils.
  • The staff is particularly vigilant in monitoring pupils who are considered at risk of bullying/ being bullied.
  • All disclosed incidents of bullying are investigated.
  • Members of the BOM are familiar with the school’s policy on bullying and actively promote it on a repeated basis among staff, parents and pupils.
  • Parents contribute to and support the school’s policy on bullying by encouraging positive behaviour both at home and at school, by being vigilant for signs and symptoms that their child is being bullied or is bullying others, by communicating concerns to the school.
  • Devising a school charter for display in classrooms and other prominent locations
  • The playground is supervised at break times
  • Corridors are monitored when pupils are going out to break / going home etc

 

Procedures for Noting and Reporting an incident of Bullying Behaviour

1. All reports of bullying, no matter how trivial, will be noted, investigated and dealt with by teachers. In that way pupils will gain confidence in reporting. This confidence factor is of vital importance.

 

2. Concerns about bullying behaviour should be reported in the first instance to the class teacher.

3. The staff will closely monitor the children who are considered at risk of being bullied / bullying.

4. Serious cases of bullying behaviour by pupils will be referred immediately to the Principal/Deputy Principal.

5. Parent(s)/ guardians of victims and bullies will be informed by the Principal/Deputy Principal earlier rather than later of incidents so that they are given the opportunity of discussing the matter. They are then in a position to help and support their children before a crisis occurs.

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

7. In the case of a complaint regarding a staff member, this should at first be raised with staff member in question and if necessary, with the Principal.

8. Where cases, relating to either a pupil or a teacher remain unresolved at school level, the matter should be referred to the School’s Board of Management (see Complaints Procedure).

 

Procedure for Investigating and Dealing with Bullying:

Teachers will take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach when dealing with incidents of bullying behaviour reported by either pupils, staff or parent(s)/guardians. Such incidents will be investigated outside the classroom situation to avoid the public humiliation of the victim or the pupil engaged in bullying behaviour. In any incident of bullying, each pupil involved will spoken  to separately, in an attempt to get both sides of the story. All interviews will be conducted with sensitivity and with due regard to the rights of all pupils concerned. Pupils who are not directly involved can also provide useful information in this way.

1. When analysing incidents of bullying behaviour, the teacher will seek answers to questions of what, where, when, who and why in a calm manner, setting an example in dealing effectively with a conflict in a non-aggressive manner.

2. If a group is involved, each member will be interviewed individually and then the individuals will meet as a group. Each member will be asked for his/her account of what happened to ensure that everyone is clear about what everyone else has said.

3. If it is concluded that a pupil has engaged in bullying behaviour, it will be made clear to him/her how he/she is in breach of the Code of Behaviour and try to get him/her to see the situation from the victim’s point of view.

4. In cases where it has been determined that bullying behaviour has occurred, a meeting or discussion will take place with the parents or guardians of the two parties involved as appropriate to:

  • explain the actions being taken and the reasons for them, referring them to the school Code of Behaviour policy.

• discuss ways in which they can reinforce and support the actions taken by the school.

 

Programme for work with victims, bullies and their peers

Pupils involved in bullying behaviour need assistance on an ongoing basis. For those low in self-esteem, opportunities should be developed to increase feelings of self-worth.

Pupils who engage in bullying behaviour may need advice to help them learn other ways of meeting their needs without violating the rights of others.

Victims may need support and provision of opportunities to participate in activities designed to raise their self-esteem and to develop their friendship and social skills whenever this is needed.

School based programmes such as the S.P.H.E. Curriculum, Walk Tall, Stay Safe, Circle Time, Alive-O and Drama Curriculum can help address some of these issues. 

Sanctions

Please refer to the school policy on “Code of Behaviour” to see what sanctions are in place to deal with bullying behaviour.

Success Criteria

The policy will be deemed successful if there is

•     positive feedback from parents, pupils and teachers.

  • if there is a positive happy atmosphere in the school.

•     improved behaviour in class and in playground.

 

Roles and Responsibilities

• The principal and the deputy principal will monitor and co-ordinate the implementation of this policy.

• Each class teacher will implement the policy in his / her own classroom and in the playground. They will also be responsible for evaluating the effectiveness of the school policy – assessing regularly the level and type of bullying behaviour that may be happening in the school and taking action as a result of these findings.

• Parents contribute to and support the school’s anti bullying policy by encouraging positive behaviour both at home and at school, by being vigilant for signs and symptoms that their child is being bullied or is bullying others, by communicating concerns to the school.

• Pupils should be vigilant in reporting incidents of bullying.

 

Implementation Date

This policy will be implemented immediately.

Review

This policy will be reviewed in 2014.

Ratification and Communication

This policy was ratified by the Board of Management on .

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