Anti Bullying Policy

Anti – Bullying Policy 

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 / Coláiste Eoin 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. 

Introduction

This policy was formulated through consultation with all staff members in an in-service setting. This policy works in conjunction with the Discipline Policy, Code of Behaviour, S.P.H.E, Substance Abuse, Child Protection Policy, Walk Tall Programme, Circle Time and Stand on my Own Two Feet Programme. 

Rationale 

This policy defines bullying as behaviour that repeatedly and in a continued manner, by a group or an individual, threatens others in an aggressive, verbal, psychological or through physical means. It is deemed necessary that staff, students and parents combine efforts to understand the nature of bullying, the issues involved and to create a policy that will eliminate this unacceptable behaviour from our school setting. 

Relationship to Characteristic Spirit of the School 

Scoil Eoin is a special needs school that caters for students with mild learning difficulties and behavioural problems. The school’s ethos “to learn to love, to live”, inherently promotes inclusion, equality and respect for all members of the Scoil Eoin community and in this light deems bullying behaviour to be counterproductive to the environment the school ethos poses to create. 

Aims:  

The purpose of these procedures is to give direction and guidance to school authorities and school personnel of Scoil/Coláiste Eoin in preventing and tackling school-based bullying behaviour amongst its pupils and in dealing with any negative impact within school of bullying behaviour that occurs elsewhere 

The Board of Management of Scoil/Coláiste Eoin is involved in implementing, writing up and ratifying the necessary arrangements for developing and formally adopting an Anti- Bullying Policy which fully complies with the requirements of these procedures. 

This Anti-Bullying Policy will be made available to all school personnel, parents and pupils, published on the school website and if requested, a copy will be provided to the Department and the Patron. 

The main aims of this Anti- Bullying Policy are as follows: 

  • To create a positive school culture and climate, that is inclusive and welcoming of difference. 
  • To create a school climate which is open, supportive and encourages pupils to discuss and disclose bullying behaviour. 
  • To raise awareness among the entire school community, that bullying is not acceptable or tolerated. 
  • To ensure comprehensive supervision and monitoring through which all aspects of school activity are kept under observation. 
  • To provide procedures for investigating and dealing with bullying behaviour. 
  • To provide procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour. 
  • To develop a programme of support for those affected by bullying behaviour and for those involved in bullying behaviour. 
  • To work with and through the various local agencies in countering all forms of bullying and anti-social behaviour. 
  • To facilitate ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of the schools Anti-Bullying Policy. 

The Definition and Types of Bullying 

Definition of bullying 

In the context of these procedures, bullying is defined as 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 this non-exhaustive definition: 

(i) deliberate exclusion, malicious gossip and other forms of relational bullying. 

(ii) cyber-bullying 

(iii) 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. 

 In addition, in the context of these procedures 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. 

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 this definition of bullying and should be dealt with, as appropriate, in accordance with the school’s code of behaviour. A single incident can have a serious effect on a pupil and may also constitute harassment which is legally prohibited in schools under equality legislation. Harassment is any form of unwanted conduct related to any of the nine discriminatory grounds (gender including transgender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race and membership of the Traveller community). 

 Types of bullying 

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

Physical aggression: This behaviour includes pushing, shoving, punching, kicking, poking and tripping people. 

Intimidation: Some bullying behaviour takes the form of intimidation: it may be based on the use of very aggressive body language. 

Isolation/exclusion and other relational bullying: This occurs where a certain person is deliberately isolated, excluded or ignored by some or all the class group. 

Cyber-bullying: This type of bullying is increasingly common and is continuously evolving. It is bullying carried out using information and communication technologies such as text, social network sites, e-mail, instant messaging (IM), apps, gaming sites, chatrooms 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. Parents and students are advised that it is illegal for a child under the age of 13 to register with and use many Social Media Networks including Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.  

Pupil mobile phones are not allowed in Scoil Eoin Primary. In Coláiste Eoin, all mobile phones must be handed up to the class teacher in the morning and are locked away until returned at home time. 

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. 

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, schoolbooks and other learning material. 

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. 

Scoil / Coláiste Eoin will endeavour to operate its Anti- Bullying Policy by implementing the following key principles of Best Practice in preventing and tackling bullying behaviour. 

  1. 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. 
  • promotes respectful relationships across the school community. 
  1. Effective Leadership plays a key role in promoting and developing an Anti- Bullying ethos in the school. The Principal, Deputy Principal, Teachers, SNA’s, Ancillary Staff, Parents and Board of Management should strive to engender an ethos under which bullying is unacceptable. All staff should act as good role models and not misuse their authority. They should be fair, firm, clear and consistent in their disciplinary measures. 
  1. A School-Wide Approach involving all adults working in the school environment is a key element of effective practice to deal with the problem of bullying behaviour. Scoil / Coláiste Eoin will always endeavour to promote a high degree of school-wide vigilance and openness in ensuring that bullying behaviour can be adequately tackled. The promotion of relevant home / school / community links is important regarding countering bullying behaviour.  
  •  

Most pupils in Scoil / Coláiste Eoin avail of school transport and bullying behaviour can often occur on the journey to and / or from school. School bus drivers & bus escorts are encouraged to play a positive role in assisting our school to counter bullying behaviour by reporting such behaviour to parents and / or to the school as appropriate.  

  • In serious cases, it may be necessary for Scoil / Coláiste Eoin to seek the assistance of other local persons and formal agencies such as NEPS, HSE – TUSLA social workers, community workers, Gardaí etc. 
  1. A shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact. All members of the school community must be aware of what the definition of bullying is and what constitutes bullying behaviour as outlined on pages 3 and 4 of our Anti-Bullying Policy. 
  1. Implementation of education and prevention strategies, including awareness raising measures that. 
  • build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils. 
  • explicitly address the issues of cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying, including, homophobic bullying. 

The above mentioned in point 5 will be implemented through the following educational mediums and pedagogies: 

  • S.P.H.E. 
  • R.S.E. 
  • Walk Tall Programme 
  • Circle Time 
  • Social Education 
  • C.S.P.E. 
  • Art 
  • Drama 
  • Religious Education 
  • Physical Education 
  • Create a culture of telling an adult 
  • Display Anti-Bullying Statement 
  • Well-Being Week 
  • Formal teaching within class setting 
  • Friendship / Act of Kindness Week 
  • Guest speakers to talk on the effects of Bullying 
  • Disciplinary Review 1, 2, & 3. 

The school will remind parents of the dangers of Cyber Bullying as can happen with the use of Social Network Sites and mobile phones. Parents will be made aware of the schools Internet Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). The school cannot be responsible for disagreements between pupils that happen outside the school grounds but will make reasonable efforts to co-operate with parents in assisting them to resolve the issue. 

Prevention and awareness raising measures will also deal with cyber bullying through educating pupils on appropriate online behaviour, how to stay safe while on-line and developing a culture of reporting any concerns about cyber bullying. Scoil/Coláiste Eoin has an Internet Policy in place which complies with Department of Education and Skills Guidelines. 

  • Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils. It is the responsibility of all staff in Scoil / Coláiste Eoin to assist with and ensure that there is always constant supervision and monitoring of pupils in the classrooms, bathrooms, yard, trips out, sports etc., The identification of “Hot Spots” / “Hot Times” i.e.  – movement between classes, bathroom times, coming to and from yard, lining up for buses, walking up and down the stairs & on the bus can be very beneficial in preventing and dealing with bullying in school. All staff members must be very vigilant and ensure that supervision is constant.   
  • Supports for staff. The Board of Management and school management must ensure that all staff recognise bullying, are aware of how to implement strategies for preventing bullying and the effective reporting and follow up procedures of a bullying incident. 
  • Consistent recording – Scoil / Coláiste Eoin will follow a clear and consistent approach to dealing with bullying. Each class teacher and SNA has a responsibility to observe, monitor, report and follow up on bullying incidents. However, the Principal, Deputy Principal and teachers with specific management roles may have to be involved in some bullying incidents. 

Procedures for investigating and dealing with bullying. 

  • The primary aim for the relevant teacher is to resolve any issues and to resolve the relationships of the parties involved, rather than to apportion blame. 
  • The teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine if bullying has occurred and how best the situation may be resolved. 
  • All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher. Confidentiality is of vital importance. 
  • Non-teaching staff i.e., SNA’s, Secretaries, Bus Escorts, Caretakers & Cleaners must be encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher. 
  • Parents and pupils are required to co-operate with any investigation and to assist the school in resolving issues as quickly as possible. 
  • Teachers should take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach when dealing with incidents of alleged bullying behaviour reported by pupils, staff or parents. 
  • When at all possible, incidents are best investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all.   
  • All interviews/investigations should be conducted with sensitivity and with due regard to the rights of all pupils involved. 
  • When analysing incidents, the relevant teacher should seek answers to questions of what, where, when, who and why. This should be done in a calm manner, setting an example in dealing effectively with conflict resolution in a non – aggressive manner. 
  • If a group is involved, each member should be interviewed, individually at first. Thereafter, pupils should be met as a group, where each member is asked for his/her account of what happened to ensure clarity amongst the pupils. 
  • All the pupils must be supported through the possible pressures and outcomes that may face them from the other members of the group after interview by the teacher. 
  • It may also be appropriate to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident (s). 
  • In cases where the relevant teacher has identified that bullying behaviour has occurred the parents of the parties involved will be contacted / requested to attend a meeting in the school to inform them of the matter and explain the actions being taken by reference to the school policy. It must be made clear to parents and pupils how he/she is in breach of the schools Anti- Bullying Policy and efforts will be made to try to get him/her to see the situation from the prospective of the bullied pupil. 
  • Where disciplinary sanctions are required, it will be made clear to all involved that this is a private matter between the pupil being disciplined, his/her parents and the school. 
  • In cases where the relevant teacher considers that the bullying behaviour has not been resolved within 20 school days after her/she has determined that bullying behaviour has occurred, it must be recorded by the relevant teacher in the recording template (Appendix 3). and a copy needs to be provided to the Principal / Deputy Principal as applicable. However, the relevant teacher is not precluded in any way from consulting with the Principal / Deputy Principal at any stage. 

Procedures for Recording Bullying Behaviour 

The Board of Management and all staff of Scoil/ Coláiste Eoin must be familiar with clear procedures for the formal noting and reporting of bully behaviour as documented in the schools Anti-Bullying Policy. All records will be maintained in accordance with relevant data protection legislation. 

  1. All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying, will be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher. The relevant teacher will use his/ her professional judgement in relation to the records to be kept of these reports, the actions taken and any discussions with those involved regarding same.  
  1. The relevant teacher may complete a serious offence report sheet if deemed necessary. 
  • The relevant teacher must use the recording template (Appendix 3), as already noted above, to record the bullying behaviour in the following circumstances: 
  1. In cases where the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days. 
  1. where the school has decided that in certain circumstances, bullying behaviour must be recorded and reported immediately to the Principal / Deputy Principal. 
  1. In cases where Scoil / Coláiste Eoin has serious concerns in relation to managing behaviour of a pupil that has escalated beyond bullying, to serious physical or sexual assault / harassment, the advice of National Education Psychological Service (N.E.P.S.), Gardaí, or TUSLA should be sought. 
  1. Serious incidents of bullying behaviour should, in accordance with Children First and the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools, be referred to the H.S.E. Children and Family Services – TUSLA and / or Gardaí as appropriate. 
  1. Where school personnel have concerns about a child but are not sure whether to report the matter to the H.S.E. – TUSLA, the Designated Liaison Person (D.L.P.) / Deputy Designated Liaison Person (D.D.L.P.) must seek advice from TUSLA (Child and Family Services). 

Supports for Pupils affected by Bullying 

  1. Scoil / Coláiste Eoin will support any pupil who has been bullied. Some pupils may require counselling, individual teacher talk time, opportunities to participate in activities designed to raise their self-esteem, to develop friendship and their social skills and thereby build resilience whenever this is needed. 
  1. Pupils involved in bullying behaviour need assistance and support on an ongoing basis. All staff in Scoil / Coláiste Eoin will endeavour to raise their low self-esteem and increase their feeling of self-worth. Through various pedagogies pupils who engage in bullying may need counselling to help them learn new strategies of meeting their needs without violating the rights of others. 
  1. All pupils in the school who may observe incidents of bullying behaviour, are encouraged to discuss them with teachers. 

Periodic Summary Report to the Board of Management 

The Principal of Scoil / Coláiste Eoin, in accordance with recommendations will provide a report to the BOM at least once every school term. This report will include: 

  1. The overall number of bullying cases reported by means of Appendix 3. 
  1. Confirmation that all cases referred to at (1) have been or are being, dealt with in accordance with the schools Anti – Bullying Policy. 

The minutes of the BOM meeting will record the above but will not include any identifying details of the pupils involved. 

Annual Review by the Board of Management 

  • The BOM of Scoil / Coláiste Eoin will undertake an annual review of the schools Anti – Bullying Policy. 
  • Appendix 4 checklist will be completed by the BOM every year. 
  • The school and BOM will address any areas for improvement identified by the review. 
  • The BOM will confirm to school personnel and publish on the school website that this notification has been completed. 

Appendix 2 Practical tips for building a positive school culture and climate 

The following are some practical tips for immediate actions that can be taken to help build a positive school culture and climate and to help prevent and tackle bullying behaviour. 

  • Model respectful behaviour to all members of the school community at all times. 
  • Explicitly teach pupils what respectful language and respectful behaviour looks like, acts like, sounds like and feels like in class and around the school. 
  • Display key respect messages in classrooms, in assembly areas and around the school. Involve pupils in the development of these messages. 
  • Catch them being good – notice and acknowledge desired respectful behaviour by providing positive attention. 
  • Consistently tackle the use of discriminatory and derogatory language in the school – this includes homophobic and racist language and language that is belittling of pupils with a disability or SEN. 
  • Give constructive feedback to pupils when respectful behaviour and respectful language are absent.  
  • Have a system of encouragement and rewards to promote desired behaviour and compliance with the school rules and routines. 
  • Explicitly teach pupils about the appropriate use of social media. 
  • Positively encourage pupils to comply with the school rules on mobile phone and internet use. 
  • Follow up and follow through with pupils who ignore the rules. 
  • Actively involve parents and/or the Parents’ Association in awareness raising campaigns around social media. 
  • Actively promote the right of every member of the school community to be safe and secure in school.  
  • Highlight and explicitly teach school rules in pupil friendly language in the classroom and in common areas. 
  • All staff can actively watch out for signs of bullying behaviour. 
  • Ensure there is adequate playground/school yard/outdoor supervision. 
  • School staff can get pupils to help them to identify bullying “hot spots” and “hot times” for bullying in the school. 
  • Hot spots tend to be in the playground/school yard/outdoor areas, changing rooms, corridors and other areas of unstructured supervision. 
  • Hot times again tend to be times where there is less structured supervision such as when pupils are in the playground/school yard or moving classrooms. 
  • Support the establishment and work of student councils. 

Appendix 2 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 (tick relevant box(es)) *   4. Location of incidents (tick relevant box(es)) *  
Pupil concerned    Playground    
Other Pupil    Classroom   
Parent    Corridor   
Teacher     Toilets   
Other    School Bus   
   Other   

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

6. Type of Bullying Behaviour (tick relevant box(es)) *  

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  

  1. Details of  actions taken  

Signed ______________________________ (Relevant Teacher)   Date ___________________________ 

Date submitted to Principal/Deputy Principal ___________________ 

Procedures for Recording Bullying Behaviour

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