Anti-Bullying

Introduction and Rationale

This anti-bullying policy operates in conjunction with the Code of Behaviour, which is used to address isolated instances of anti-social behaviour.The school has a central role in the children’s’ social moral development just as it does in their academic development.  In school, we work towards standards of behaviour based on the basic principles of honesty, respect, consideration and responsibility.  The individuality of each child needs to be accommodated while at the same time acknowledging the right of every child to education in a disruption free environment.

Relating this policy to Characteristic Spirit of School

St. Colmcille’s B.N.S. is committed to providing a caring learning environment which facilitates the nurturing of each pupil’s full educational potential.  Our school aims to be a welcoming and inclusive environment for all members of its community.  This community is defined as the pupils, parents, teachers, ancillary staff and visitors to the school.

Aims

  • 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 incidents 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

Our school community believes that each pupil has a right to an education free from fear and intimidation.

The school regards bullying as a serious infringement of individual rights and a serious threat to the self-esteem and self-confidence of targeted pupil(s).  Therefore it does not tolerate bullying of any kind.

Every report of bullying is treated seriously and dealt with, having due regard for the well- being of the targeted pupil(s) and the perpetrator(s).

The immediate priority, should a bullying incident occur, is ending the bullying, (thereby protecting the person(s) being targeted) and resolving the issues and restoring the relationships involved insofar as is practicable using a “Reform, not Blame” approach.

All pupils are expected to contribute to the creation and maintenance a safe environment in the school.  On becoming aware of any bullying situation, in or outside the school, involving members of the school community they should notify a trusted responsible adult.  Bullying behaviour is too serious not to report.

Pupils’ participation in school life in general is encouraged through existing school structures.  Awareness of bullying, and willingness to take action to prevent or stop it, is part of this participation.

Details of 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 St Colmcille’s BNS, Swords 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.

  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 is therefore fully committed to the following key principles of best practice in preventing and tackling bullying behaviou

  • A positive school culture and climate whichis 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

  • 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

3.         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 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 definition includes a wide range of behaviour, whether verbal or written, whether physical or social, whether targeting person or property, whether carried out directly or indirectly or through any electronic or other medium, which could harm a pupil or undermine her/his self-esteem or self-confidence.

 

4.    The Relevant Teacher for investigating and dealing with bullying in this school in the class teacher in the first instance. All subsequent  investigations of bullying behaviour will be dealt with in accordance with the procedures which are outlined in the Code of Behaviour.

5.   The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber-bullying and identity based bullying) used by the school are as follows:

  • The anti-bullying module of the SPHE programme as it applies during each school year,
  • A number of awareness-raising exercises per school year for each class group (e.g. from the “Awareness-Raising” strand of the Anti-Bullying Campaign, via its website), pro-actively explaining the nature and variety, causes, consequences and unacceptability of bullying.

Pupils are helped to examine the issue of bullying in a calm rational way, outside of the tense context of particular bullying incidents.  In the process they are made more aware of the nature of bullying and the various forms that it can take. Pupils are made aware that the consequences of bullying behaviour are always bad for those who are targeted, even if this is not always obvious at the time.

Pupils are encouraged to recognise, reject and report bullying behaviour, either spontaneously or through questionnaires that are regularly used in the school.

 

Through presentations or other exercises, the school staff and parents/guardians are made aware of the nature of bullying and the signs that might indicate that a pupil is being bullied.  They are encouraged to be vigilant in watching out for signs of bullying and to report any suspicion of bullying they may have to the “Relevant Teacher” (in the case of staff members) or any staff member (in the case of parents/guardians).

 

Through regular reports in school newsletters and other communications as well as at meetings with parent/guardian groups parents/guardians are regularly informed of the activities of the school ‘Anti-Bullying Team’ and encouraged to support its work.

 

6. 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:

  • The ‘Relevant Teacher’ investigates all instances of reported or suspected bullying behaviour, whether these take place within the school or outside it, with a view to establishing the facts and bringing any such behaviour to an end.
  • The School, through the ‘Relevant Teacher’ reserves the right to ask any pupil to write an account of what happened, as part of an investigation.  This will be a standard procedure and does not necessarily imply that a pupil is guilty of misbehaviour.
  • Pupils who are alleged to have been involved in bullying behaviour are interviewed by the ‘Relevant Teacher’ to establish the nature and extent of the behaviour and any reasons for it.  In the event that they have been involved in bullying behaviour they are asked to sign a binding promise that they will treat all pupils fairly, equally and respectfully including the targeted pupil(s).
  • The ‘Relevant Teacher’ does not apportion blame but rather treats bullying behaviour as a “mistake” that can and must be remedied.  S/he emphasises that the intention is not to punish perpetrators but to talk to them, to explain how harmful and hurtful bullying is and to seek a promise that it will stop.  If that promise is forthcoming and is honoured there will be no penalty and that will be the end of the matter.  Pupils who report bullying therefore are not getting others “in trouble” so much as enabling them to get out of trouble into which they may ultimately get if the bullying continued.
  • When an investigation is completed and/or a bullying situation is resolved the ‘Relevant Teacher’ will complete a report, to include the findings of the investigation, the strategy adopted and the outcome of the intervention, as well as any other relevant information.
  • If a pupil has signed such a promise but then chooses to break that promise and continue the bullying behaviour, this can then no longer be considered a “mistake.”  In this event parent(s)/guardian(s) will be informed and requested to countersign their daughter/son’s promise.  Breach of this additional promise by further bullying behaviour is regarded as a very grave matter and a serious sanction may be imposed by the school authorities (See sanctions below).
  • All documentation regarding bullying incidents and their resolution is retained securely in the school.
  • Sanctions:

Where a pupil has been found to be engaged in bullying behaviour, has formally promised to stop and has broken that promise, any of the following sanctions may be imposed:

–     he may be required to sign another promise, this time countersigned by a parent/guardian;

–     Parent(s)/guardian(s) may be contacted by the ‘Relevant Teacher’ and informed of the nature and extent of the bullying     behaviour with a view to agreeing a strategy whereby a promise to end the bullying behaviour would be honoured;

–     Parent(s)/guardian(s) may be invited to a meeting with the ‘Relevant Teacher’ and the Principal and the pupil may be suspended from school.

–     The case may be referred to the Board of Management and the pupil may be suspended or expelled from the school.

7.         The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:

  • Bullied pupils:

–   Ending the bullying behaviour,

–   Changing the school culture to foster more respect for bullied pupils and all pupils,

–   Changing the school culture to foster greater empathy  towards and support for bullied pupils,

–   Indicating clearly that the bullying is not the fault of the targeted pupil through the awareness-raising programme,

–   Indicating clearly that the bullying is not the fault of the targeted pupil through the speedy identification of those responsible and speedy resolution of bullying situations,

–   After resolution, enabling bullied pupils to complete a victim-impact statement,

–   Making adequate counselling facilities available to pupils who need it in a timely manner,

–   Helping bullied pupils raise their self-esteem by encouraging them to become involved in activities that help develop friendships and social skills (e.g. participation in group work in class and in extra-curricular group or team activities during or after school).

 

  • Bullying pupils:

– Making it clear that bullying pupils who reform are not blamed or punished and get a “clean sheet,”

–    Making it clear that bullying pupils who reform are doing the right thing and giving them praise for this,

–    Making adequate counselling facilities available to help those who need it learn other ways of meeting their needs besides violating the rights of others,

–    Helping those who need to raise their self-esteem by encouraging them to become involved in activities that develop friendships and social skills (e.g. participation in group work in class and in extra-curricular group or team activities during or after school),

–    Using learning strategies throughout the school and the curriculum to help enhance pupils’ feelings of self-worth,

–    In dealing with negative behavior in general, encouraging teachers and parents to focus on, challenge and correct the behaviour while supporting the child,

–   In dealing with bullying behaviour seeking resolution and offering a fresh start with a “clean sheet” and no blame in return for keeping a promise to reform.

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. The Board of Management confirms that the school will, in accordance with its obligations under equality legislation, take all such steps as 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 on 12 May 2014.

 

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 of Education and Skills and to 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 and provided to the Parents’ Association. A record of the review and its outcome will be made available to the Department of Education and Skills and to the patron if requested.

Success Criteria

  • The effectiveness of school policy on this issue will be monitored through random surveys to ascertain the level and type of bullying behaviour in school.
  • The school’s anti-bullying code will be subject to continuous review in the light of incidents of bullying behaviour encountered. It will be included as an item on the agenda for staff meetings as the need arises.

Anti-Bullying Code in St Colmcille’s BNS

1. Every pupil has the right to enjoy his time in St Colmcille’s Boys’ National School, free from bullying

2. Our school will not tolerate any unkind actions or remarks, even if these were not meant to hurt.

3. Pupils should support each other by reporting all instances of bullying.

4. Bullying is regarded as a very serious matter; no child has a right to strike another, even in “self-defence”.

 

Signed: _______________________________     Signed: ____________________________

(Chairperson of Board of Management)                  (Principal)

 

Date: ___/___/______                           Date: ___/___/______

 

Date of next review: ___/___/______

 

Appendix 1

Bullying can take a number of forms. These may include any of the following (this list is not exhaustive):

 

  • Repeated aggressive behaviour/attitude/body language, for example:

Shouting and uncontrolled anger,

Personal insults,

Verbal abuse,

Offensive language directed at an individual,

Continually shouting or dismissing others,

Public verbal attacks/criticism,

Open aggression,

Offensive gestures and unwanted physical contact.

  • Intimidation, either physical, psychological or emotional, for example:

Ridicule,

Persistent slagging,

Deliberate staring with the intent to discomfort.

Persistent rudeness in behaviour and attitude toward a particular individual.

Asking inappropriate questions/making inappropriate comments re. personal life/family

Asking inappropriate questions/making inappropriate comments re. social life or schoolwork.

  • Interference with property, for example:

Stealing/damaging books or equipment

Stealing/damaging clothing or other property

Demanding money with menaces

Persistently moving, hiding or interfering with property

Marking/defacing property

 

  • Undermining/Public or Private Humiliation, for example:

Deliberately withholding significant information and resources,

Writing of anonymous notes,

Malicious, disparaging or demeaning comments,

Malicious tricks/derogatory jokes,

Knowingly spreading rumours,

Belittling others’ efforts, their enthusiasm or their new ideas,

Derogatory or offensive nicknames (name-calling),

Using electronic or other media for any of the above (cyber bullying),

Disrespectfully mimicking a particular individual in his absence,

Deliberately refusing to address issues focusing instead on the person.

 

  • Ostracising or isolating, for example:

Deliberately marginalising an individual

Deliberately preventing a person from joining a group,

Deliberately preventing from joining in an activity, schoolwork-related or recreational

Blaming a pupil for things he did not do.

 

 

Template for recording bullying behaviour

 

1. Name of pupil being bullied and class group

Name: ______________________________Class__________________

2. Name(s) and class(es) of pupil(s) engaged in bullying behaviour

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________

3. Source of bullying concern/report                 4. Location of incidentS

(tick relevant person)                                                 (tick location)

Pupil                                                                                          Playground

Other pupil                                                                             Classroom

Parent                                                                                      Corridor

Teacher                                                                                   Toilets

Other                                                                                       Other

5. Name of person(s) who reported the bullying concern

_______________________________________________________

6. Type of Bullying Behaviour (tick relevant item)

Physical Aggression                                                   Cyber-bullying

Damage to Property                                                Intimidation

Isolation/Exclusion                                                      Malicious Gossip

Name Calling                                                              Other (specify)

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

Homophobic                                                                Disability/SEN related

Racist                                                                             Membership of Traveller community

Other (specify)

8. Brief Description of bullying behaviour and its impact

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

9. Details of actions taken

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Signed______________________________ (Relevant Teacher) Date:__________

Date submitted to Principal/Deputy Principal ___________________

Checklist for annual review of the anti-bullying policy and its implementation

Yes/No
Has the Board formally adopted an anti-bullying policy that fully complies with the requirements of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools?
Has the Board published the policy on the school website and provided a copy to the parents’ association?
Has the Board ensured that the policy has been made available to school staff (including new staff)?
 Is the Board satisfied that school staff are sufficiently familiar with the policy and procedures to enable them to effectively and consistently apply the policy and procedures in their day to day work?
Has the Board ensured that the policy has been adequately communicated to all pupils?
Has the policy documented the prevention and education strategies that the school applies?
Have all of the prevention and education strategies been implemented?
Has the effectiveness of the prevention and education strategies that have been implemented been examined?
Is the Board satisfied that all teachers are recording and dealing with incidents in accordance with the policy?
Has the Board received and minuted the periodic summary reports of the Principal?
 Has the Board discussed how well the school is handling all reports of bullying including those addressed at an early stage and not therefore included in the Principal’s periodic report to the Board?
Has the Board received any complaints from parents regarding the school’s handling of bullying incidents?
Have any parents withdrawn their child from the school citing dissatisfaction with the school’s handling of a bullying situation?
 Have any Ombudsman for Children investigations into the school’s handling of a bullying case been initiated or completed?
Has the data available from cases reported to the Principal (by the bullying recording template) been analysed to identify any issues, trends or patterns in bullying behaviour?
Has the Board identified any aspects of the school’s policy and/or its implementation that require further improvement?
 Has the Board put in place an action plan to address any areas for improvement?

 

Signed _____________________________________ Date:___________

Chairperson, Board of Management

Signed _____________________________________ Date:__________

 

Notification regarding the Board of Management’s annual review of the Anti-bullying policy

 

To: _____________________________________

 

The Board of Management of St Colmcille’s BNS wishes to inform you that:

 

·        The Board of Management’s annual review of the school’s anti-bullying policy and its implementation was completed at the Board meeting of _______

·        This review was conducted in accordance with the checklist set out in Appendix 4 of the Department’s Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.

 

Signed _____________________________________ Date: ___________

Chairperson, Board of Management

 

Signed _____________________________________ Date:___________

Principal