This policy is based on the DES guidelines “Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools 2013” http://www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Information/Bullying/Anti-Bullying-Procedures-in-Schools.html . It develops on our previous school policy on this topic to reflect the changing nature of society in relation to cyber bullying and other forms of “new” bullying. It aims to produce a safe and caring environment in which all children can develop to their full potential. The school does not tolerate or condone bullying of any form or at any level of the school community. The Board of Management is committed to ensuring that all members of the school community – pupils, staff, and parents are enabled to act effectively to deal with bullying. This policy guides action and organisation within the school for preventing and responding to bullying.
1 In accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the code of behaviour guidelines issued by Tusla EWB, the Board of Management of St. Colman’s National 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 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 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; 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 in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying. (Homophobic bullying is behaviour or language which makes a young person feel unwelcome or marginalised because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation. Transphobic bullying is behaviour or language that makes a child or young person feel unwelcome or marginalised because of their perceived or actual gender identity.)
- 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 2013 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 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. Additional information on different types of bullying is set out in Section 2 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.
With children having increasing access to communications technology, it is essential that parents, are aware of the growing problem of cyber- bullying, most of which occurs by mobile phone but can also occur through social media internet postings such as Facebook and You-tube, on-line chat-rooms and phone calls.
Children should be warned about the possible pitfalls of some electronic communication. Parents should not assume their child already knows. The school operates a mobile-phone free policy for pupils while on school grounds. However on the very rare occasion that a child needs a mobile in school the mobile phone is stored in the office or teachers desk. Phones and other electronic devices are allowed on long school trips/school tours. All internet access within school is vigilantly regulated. Facebook cannot be accessed at school due to internet filtering systems. Class teachers conduct lessons on internet safety and responsible internet behaviour.
Steps to take if your child is targeted by cyber-bullies:
- Do not reply to abusive messages.
- Save the messages and report to parent/ teacher/service provider.
- Very threatening cyber-messages should be reported to the Gardaí.
Some warning signs may include:
- Visibly upset after receiving calls, texts or being on the internet.
- Lack of interest in friends.
- Deterioration in school work.
- Avoidance of school or friends.
Pupils should be aware that we disprove of cyber-bullying. Sanctions in school are as per Code of Behaviour.
- The relevant teacher for investigating and dealing with bullying are the class teachers.
- The education and prevention strategies that will be used by the school are all teaching methodologies of the Social Personal and Health Education subject of the national primary curriculum.
Prim Ed Health, Primary Planet and News Flash are some of the resources used to support the following core programmes :
- Stay Safe (child abuse prevention programme – every second year)
- Relationships and Sexuality Education (every second year)
- Walk Talk (substance prevention program)
Lessons will be also sourced from the following additional programms:
- Bullying posters from Prim-Ed (to cover cyber bullying)
- Alive O (values formation)
- http://www.webwise.ie/ (safe internet & technology use and cyber bullying)
Sample worksheets from these lessons will be collected in folders/portfolios in the junior room and added to a scrap book in the senior room.
- 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 follows will follow Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.
A school incident book is used by staff to record negative behaviour if the behaviour is deemed bullying (as per the definition in this policy) the incident will be recorded using the standardised document see appendix 1 and will be reported to the parents of the children concerned.
- Support will be provided for anyone who is bullied by offering them an immediate opportunity to talk about their experience with their teacher or other teacher, along with continuing support when they feel they may need it. 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 what has happened and of the measures being taken to help them, encourage them to report further incidences if they occur.
Help and support will be sought for a bully. This will include speaking with them to discover why they became involved, informing their parents/guardians and continuing to work with them in order to modify their behaviour. The school code of behaviour applies to bullying. The bully will be helped to see things from the victim’s point of view. 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 procedure.
Any pupil who is involved in retaliation against a pupil who reports bullying will be subject to the school code of discipline. Incidents of bullying will be used as opportunities for re-enforcing the anti-bullying policy of the school. Follow-up meetings may be arranged to assess progress and/or restore relationships.
- 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.
- 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.
- This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website, is readily accessible to parents and pupils on request and provided to the Parents’ Association. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the patron if requested.
- 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 included in the Board of Management Minutes. A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department.
Signed: Fr. Paul Kivlehan Signed: Dermot Dillon
(Chairperson of Board of Management) (Principal)
Ratified on: Thursday 2nd March 2017 at BOM meeting
Date: 02/03/2017 Date: 02/03/2017