Anti-Bullying Policy

Scoil Mhuire Lourdes

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 Mhuire Lourdes, Tullow 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 recognises the very serious nature of bullying and the negative impact that it can have on the lives of pupils.  The school community believes strongly that respect for all at all times must be promoted and become intrinsic in the ethos of society.

The children are taught that society is made up of a variety of different people, all of whom deserve our respect, all of whom have the right to be treated equally and to have the fundamental right to be allowed to exist in society and be content in their lives.   No bullying can therefore be tolerated and no discrimination based on the nine stated grounds included in equality legislation, i.e. gender including transgender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race and membership of the Traveller community, can be allowed.

 

The Board of Management and the staff of Scoil Mhuire Lourdes 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 homophobic and trans phobic bullying at the appropriate level and as cases arise.
  •  Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils
  • Supports for staff
  • Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of alleged 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 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 may 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 Appendix A of this policy.

 Who will deal with accusations of bullying?

  • The class Teacher(s) initially and, when circumstances warrant it, the Principal/Deputy Principal.

The following education and prevention strategies, at the appropriate and relevant level for each class, will be used by the school:

 

  • Prevention and awareness raising measures across all aspects of bullying and involves strategies to engage pupils in addressing problems when they arise. In particular, such strategies need to build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils
  • Opportunities will be used to help pupils develop a positive sense of self-worth
  • Prevention and awareness raising measures focusing on cyber-bullying by educating pupils on appropriate online behaviour, how to stay safe while online
  • Teachers can influence attitudes to bullying behaviour in a positive manner
  • There are a number of curriculum components and programmes which are particularly relevant to the prevention of bullying and the promotion of respect for diversity and inclusiveness.

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 & RSE programmes at primary level are personal safety skills programmes which seek to enhance children’s self-protection skills including their ability to recognise and cope with bullying.  Various other social, health and media education programmes can further help to address the problem of bullying behaviour

  • The work could be extended into many other areas such as Art, Drama, Religious Education, and Physical Education. Co-operation and group enterprise can be promoted through team sports, as well as through practical subjects
  • Sporting activities in particular can provide excellent opportunities for channelling and learning how to control aggression. GAA  coaching is offered to most classes .
  • Ensuring that pupils know who to tell and how to tell, e.g.

Direct approach to teacher at an appropriate time, for example after class.

Hand up note with homework

Make a phone call to the school or to a trusted teacher in the school.

Get a parent(s)/guardian(s) or friend to tell on your behalf.

Ensure bystanders understand the importance of telling if they witness or know that bullying is taking place.

 

Procedure for Investigating and Dealing with Bullying

The primary aim 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). 

 Every effort will be made to ensure that all involved (including pupils/ parents/guardians) understand this approach from the outset.

Reporting bullying behaviour

 

  • Any pupil or parent/guardian may bring a bullying incident to any teacher in the school.
  • All reports, including anonymous report of bullying, will be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher.
  • Teaching and non-teaching staff must report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher.

Investigating and dealing with incidents: Style of approach

  • In investigating and dealing with bullying, the (relevant) teacher(s) will exercise her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred, what type if it has, and how best the situation might be resolved
  • Parents/guardians 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
  • Teachers will take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach when dealing with incidents of alleged bullying behaviour reported by pupils, staff or parents
  • Where possible incidents will be investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved.
  • 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 very useful information in this way
  • When analysing incidents of bullying behaviour, the relevant teacher(s) should seek answers to questions of what, where, when, who and why. This will be done in a calm manner, setting an example in dealing effectively with a conflict in a non-aggressive manner.
  • If a group is involved, each member may be interviewed individually at first. Thereafter, all those involved may be met as a group if appropriate.  At the group meeting, each member should be asked for her account of what happened to ensure that everyone in the group is clear about each other’s statements
  • Each member of a group will be supported through the possible pressures that they may face from the other members of the group after interview by the teacher
  • Where the relevant teacher(s) has/have determined that a pupil has been engaged in bullying behaviour, it should be made clear to her how she is in breach of the school’s anti-bullying policy and efforts should be made to try to get her to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied (Restorative practice )
  • It may also be appropriate or helpful to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident(s)
  • In cases where it has been determined by the relevant teacher that bullying behaviour has occurred, the parents of the parties involved will be contacted at an early stage to inform them of the matter and explain the actions being taken(by reference to the schools policy).  The school will 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
  • 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, her parents and the school;

Follow up and recording

In determining whether a bullying case has been adequately and appropriately addressed the relevant teacher must, as part of her professional judgement, take the following factors into account.

  • Whether the bullying has ceased
  • Whether any issues between the parties have been resolved as far as is practicable;
  • Whether the relationships between the parties have been resolved as far as is practicable
  • Any feedback received from the parties involved, their parents/guardians or the school Principal or Deputy Principal
  1. Follow-up meetings with the relevant parties involved may 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
  2. An additional follow-up meeting with parents of the children involved may take place after an appropriate time to ensure that the matter has been resolved satisfactorily
  3. 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
  4. 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.

RECORDING:     All records must be maintained in accordance with relevant data protection legislation.  The school’s procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour will adhere to the following:

  • While all reports, including anonymous reports of bullying, must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher(s), she will use her professional judgment in relation to the records to be kept of these reports, the actions taken and any discussions with those involved regarding same . (Appendix C may help with this recording)
  • If it is established by the relevant teacher(s) that bullying has occurred, she must keep appropriate written records which will assist her efforts to resolve the issues and restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved
  • These records will be kept in the pupils’ profile folder. A note re. this will be put in the “Bullying” copy in the Staff Room.
  • The relevant teacher will inform the Principal of all incidents being investigated.

The Recording Template at Appendix B must  be used to record the bullying behaviour when

  •  the relevant teacher considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately  addressed within 20 school days after she has determined that bullying behaviour occurred.
  • The relevant teacher in conjunction with the  Principal so decide.

When this template is used it must be retained by the relevant class teacher and a copy maintained by the Principal.

The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying involves a whole school approach.  Given the complexity of bullying behaviour, no one intervention/support programme works in all situations.  Therefore various approaches and intervention strategies may be used, including suggesting that parents seek referrals from appropriate outside agencies in order to receive further support for the pupils and their families if needed.

 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.

This policy was ratified by the Board of Management and will be reviewed annually.

Signed :     Sr. Mary Dalton      (Chairperson, Board of Management)

Anne Kennelly          (Principal)        Date:  Sept. 9th 2014

 

APPENDIX A

Types of bullying

The following are some of the types of bullying behaviour that can occur amongst pupils:

o Physical aggression: This behaviour includes pushing, shoving, punching, kicking, poking and tripping people. It may also take the form of severe physical assault. While pupils often engage in ‘mess fights’, they can sometimes be used as a disguise for physical harassment or inflicting pain.

o Intimidation: Some bullying behaviour takes the form of intimidation: it may be based on the use of very aggressive body language with the voice being used as a weapon. Particularly upsetting can be a facial expression which conveys aggression and/or dislike.

o Isolation/exclusion and other relational bullying: This occurs where a certain person is deliberately isolated, excluded or ignored by some or all of the class group. This practice is usually initiated by the person engaged in bullying behaviour and can be difficult to detect. It may be accompanied by writing insulting remarks about the pupil in public places, by passing around notes about or drawings of the pupil or by whispering insults about them loud enough to be heard. Relational bullying occurs when a person’s attempts to socialise and form relationships with peers are repeatedly rejected or undermined. One of the most common forms includes control: “Do this or I won’t be your friend anymore”(implied or stated); a group ganging up against one person (girl or boy); non-verbal gesturing; malicious gossip; spreading rumours about a person or giving them the “silent treatment”.

o Cyber-bullying: This type of bullying is increasingly common and is continuously evolving. It is bullying carried out through the use of information and communication technologies such as text, social network sites, e-mail, instant messaging (IM), apps, gaming sites, chat-rooms and other online technologies. Being the target of inappropriate or hurtful messages is the most common form of online bullying. As cyber-bullying uses technology to perpetrate bullying behaviour and does not require face to face contact, cyber-bullying can occur at any time (day or night). Many forms of bullying can be facilitated through cyber-bullying. For example, a target may be sent homophobic text messages or pictures may be posted with negative comments about a person’s sexuality, appearance etc.

o Name calling: Persistent name-calling directed at the same individual(s) which hurts, insults or humiliates should be regarded as a form of bullying behaviour. Often name-calling of this type refers to physical appearance, e.g., size or clothes worn. Accent or distinctive voice characteristics may attract negative attention. Academic ability can also provoke name calling. This tends to operate at two extremes. There are those who are singled out for attention because they are perceived to be weak academically. At the other extreme there are those who, because they are perceived as high achievers, are also targeted.

o Damage to property: Personal property can be the focus of attention for bullying behaviour. This may result in damage to clothing, mobile phone or other devices, school books and other learning material or interference with a pupil’s locker or bicycle. The contents of school bags and pencil cases may be scattered on the floor. Items of personal property may be defaced, broken, stolen or hidden.

o Extortion: Demands for money may be made, often accompanied by threats (sometimes carried out in the event of the targeted pupil not delivering on the demand). A pupil may also be forced into theft of property for delivery to another who is engaged in bullying behaviour.

 Appendix B

 

  1. Name of pupil being bullied and class group

 

Name _________________________________________Class__________________

 

  1. Name(s) and class(es) of pupil(s) engaged in bullying behaviour
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  1. Source of alleged bullying concern/report (tick relevant box(es))*
  1. Location of incidents (tick relevant box(es))*
Pupil concerned Playground
Other Pupil Classroom
Parent Corridor
Teacher Toilets
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 ___________________

 

Appendix C      Report Re. alleged Bullying 

 

Who:     Name:

 

                Name:

 

What happened: (incident)

 

 

Where (occurred)

 

 

When (occurred)

 

 

 

 

Reported by

 

 

Reported how

 

 

Reported when

 

 

Reported to

 

Action Taken:

 

 

 

 Sign:                                                                                      Date: