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 S.N. Mhuire, Barntown 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
- 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.
- 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 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,
- 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.
School hours are from 9.20am until 3pm during which the school has responsibility for pupils.
This anti-bullying policy applies to all pupils enrolled in our school during the school day or involved in school activities or representing the school either during or after school.
Appendix 1 gives a list of specific examples of bullying behaviour. This list is not exhaustive.
Appendix 2 gives advice for parents and pupils.
Additional information on different types of bullying is set out in Section 2 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.
- The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying are as follows:
(See Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools)
- Classroom related incidents:
- The class teacher
- Yard incidents:
- The supervising teacher or it may be passed onto the class teacher, deputy principal or principal.
- Incidents at school events:
- The supervising teacher or it may be passed onto the deputy principal or principal.
- Any teacher may act as a relevant teacher if circumstances warrant it.
- The education and prevention strategies that will be used by the school are as follows:
(See Section 6.5 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools)
- A school –wide approach to fostering respect for all members of the school community. The promotion of the value of diversity to address issues of prejudice and stereotyping and highlighting the unacceptability of bullying behaviour.
- Modelling of respectful behaviour and language by teachers and staff.
- At least five specific awareness raising exercises per school year for each class group (1st to 6th classes) proactively explaining the nature and variety, causes, consequences and unacceptability of bullying.
Through ongoing awareness raising exercises on bullying the school hopes to build a culture where bullying is Recognised, Rejected and Reported by all in the school community.
- Pupils are explicitly taught how to recognise, reject and report bullying behaviour. Bystanders understand the importance of telling if they witness or know that bullying is taking place. Pupils know who to tell and how to tell, e.g.:
- Direct approach to teacher at an appropriate time, for example after class.
- Hand note up with homework.
- Make a phone call to the school or to a trusted teacher in the school.
- Use of “worry box”.
- Get a parent(s)/guardian(s) or friend to tell on your behalf.
- Through the administration of a confidential questionnaire once a term to all pupils.
- An annual anti-bullying/friendship awareness week is organised, as part of our SPHE programme, in the autumn of each year. This will involve discussion, anti-bullying games, poster/slogan competitions, bullying surveys for classes 3rd - 6th.
- Use of school assemblies to focus on how to recognise, reject and report bullying.
- Involvement of the students’ council in contributing to a safe school environment e.g. buddy system, mentoring, lunch time pals and other student support activities that can help to support pupils and encourage a culture of peer respect and support.
- Development and promotion of an Anti-Bullying code for the school which will be displayed in prominent places around the school environment and included in student journals .( Work is ongoing in this area)
- Education of pupils, where age appropriate, on appropriate online behaviour.
- An annual presentation for parents and 5th/6th class pupils on cyber-bullying.
- The school’s anti-bullying policy is discussed with pupils and all parent(s)/guardian(s) are given a copy as part of the Code of Behaviour of the school on enrolment of their child. Both are available on the school website at www.barntownns.ie.
- Bullying to be discussed formally at regular intervals by staff but at a minimum at one staff meeting per term.
- The implementation of the SPHE, the RSE, Walk Tall and Stay Safe Programmes.
- The school will specifically consider the additional needs of SEN pupils with regard to programme implementation and the development of skills and strategies to enable all pupils to respond appropriately.
- 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’.
Links to other policies
The following policies are particularly relevant:
- Code of Behaviour
- Child Protection Policy
- Acceptable Use Policy
- Students’ council
- 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:
(See Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools)
- 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.
Bullying is Recognised, Rejected and Reported by all members of the school community and that where bullying has taken place the emphasis is on Reform not Blame.
This approach, consistently implemented, is recognised as leading to the best outcomes in incidents of bullying behaviour.
- The school has a clear and consistent approach to dealing with reports of bullying.
- Every effort will be made to ensure that all involved understand this approach from the start.
Reporting bullying behaviour
- Any parent/guardian may bring a bullying concern or incident to the attention of any teacher in the school.
- All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying, will be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher.
- Teaching and non-teaching staff such as secretaries, special needs assistants (SNAs), caretaker, cleaners must report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them or mentioned to them to the relevant teacher.
- A “worry box” is available in school where pupils can write down their concerns anonymously if they so wish. This brings issues of concern to staff attention which can then be monitored or investigated.
Procedure for investigating and dealing with a report of bullying
- In investigating and dealing with bullying, the (relevant) teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best the situation might be resolved. See phased approach further down.
- Parent(s)/guardian(s) 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 should be investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved.
- All interviews should 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 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 a conflict in a non-aggressive manner.
- 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.
- If a group is involved, each member should be interviewed individually at first. Thereafter, all those involved should be met as a group. At the group meeting, each member should be asked for his/her account of what happened to ensure that everyone in the group is clear about each other’s statements.
- Each member of a group should be supported through the possible pressures that may face them from the other members of the group after the interview by the teacher.
School Procedure for dealing with established cases of bullying
Where it has been established, through investigation, that bullying is taking place, the following approach will be used to deal with the incident:
- Where the relevant teacher has determined that a pupil has engaged in bullying behaviour, it will be made clear to him/her how he/she is in breach of the school’s anti-bullying policy and efforts will be made to get him/her to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied. The teacher will seek a promise from the child that there will be no further bullying by them. In return for honesty, keeping their promise and an apology to the child who was bullied, the child/children will receive no blame or sanction. The Principal will be informed of the case and the matter may be referred to her/him. Parents may be contacted at this stage.
- If the promise is broken the teacher will inform the Principal and parents of the child/children engaged in bullying behaviour. In return for honesty and keeping their second promise the child will receive no blame or sanction.
- If the second promise is broken the behaviour will be dealt with in line with the school’s Code of Behaviour which will involve an escalating series of sanctions which may ultimately lead to suspension or expulsion.
In cases at Phase 2, where it has been determined by the relevant teacher that bullying behaviour has occurred, the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the parties involved should be contacted at an early stage to inform them of the matter and explain the sequence of events and the actions being taken (by reference to the school policy). The school should give parent(s)/guardian(s) an opportunity of discussing ways in which they can reinforce or support the actions being taken by the school and the supports provided to the pupils;
Where the relevant teacher has determined that a pupil has been engaged in bullying behaviour, it should be made clear to him/her how he/she is in breach of the school’s anti-bullying policy and efforts should be made to try to get him/her to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied;
It must also be made clear to all involved (each set of pupils and parent(s)/guardian(s)) that in any situation where disciplinary sanctions are required, this is a private matter between the pupil being disciplined, his or her parent(s)/guardian(s) 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 his/her professional judgement, take the following factors into account:
- Whether the bullying behaviour has ceased;
- Whether any issues between the parties have been resolved as far as is practicable;
- Whether the relationships between the parties have been restored as far as is practicable; and
- Any feedback received from the parties involved, their parents or the school Principal or Deputy Principal;
Follow up meetings with the relevant parties involved should 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.
Where a parent is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, parents can make a complaint through the school’s complaints procedure.
In the event that a parent has exhausted the school's complaints procedures and is still not satisfied, parents/guardians have a right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.
Recording of bullying behaviour
It is imperative that all recording of bullying incidents must be done in an objective and factual manner.
The school’s procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour are as follows:
Informal - pre-determination as to whether bullying has occurred
- All staff must keep a written record of any incidents witnessed by them or notified to them.
- All incidents must be reported to the relevant teacher
- While all reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher, the relevant teacher must keep a written record of the reports, the actions taken and any discussions with those involved regarding same.
- The relevant teacher must inform the principal of all incidents being investigated.
Formal Stage 1 – following determination that bullying has occurred
- If it is established by the relevant teacher that bullying has occurred, the relevant teacher must keep appropriate written records which will assist his/her efforts to resolve the issues and restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved. 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. A copy of this should be given to the Principal.
- The school in consultation with the relevant teacher/s will develop a protocol for the storage of all records retained by the relevant teacher.
Formal Stage 2 - Appendix 3 (From DES Procedures)
The relevant teacher must use the recording template at Appendix 3 to record the bullying
behaviour in the following circumstances:
- a) in cases where he/she considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately
and appropriately addressed within 20 school days after he/she has determined
that bullying behaviour occurred; and
- b) the school has decided, that as part of its anti-bullying policy, in certain
circumstances bullying behaviour must be recorded and reported immediately to
the Principal or Deputy Principal as applicable. The list behaviours that must be recorded and reported immediately to the principal are listed in the Code of Behaviour.
All documentation regarding bullying incidents and their resolution is retained securely in
the school until the children involved reach 21 years of age (nine years after the pupil
leaves 6th class).
Bullying as part of a continuum of behaviour
Bullying behaviour can be part of a continuum of behaviour rather than a stand alone issue
and in some cases behaviour may escalate beyond that which can be described as bullying
to serious physical or sexual assault or harassment. In such cases the behaviour will be
dealt with in accordance with the school’s Code of Behaviour Policy and referral will be
made to the relevant external agencies and authorities as appropriate.
In cases where the school has serious concerns in relation to managing the behaviour of a
pupil, the advice of the National Education Psychological Service (NEPS) will be sought.
- Supports for Pupils affected by bullying
The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:
(See Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools)
(Work is ongoing in developing this area of the policy)
- Ending the bullying behaviour
- In-school supports and opportunities will be provided for pupils affected by bullying to participate in activities designed to raise self- esteem, to develop friendships and social skills and build resilience – for example
- Implementing a “buddy system” for yards.
- Group work such as circle time.
- The school will seek to identify areas of responsibility for children affected by bullying which will help to improve their self-esteem.
- The school runs a wide range of activities for children throughout the year. The school will encourage pupils affected by bullying to become involved in these activities if they are not already involved.
- Class teachers will check with pupils affected by bullying on a regular basis.
- Making it clear that bullying pupils who reform are doing the right and honourable thing and giving them praise for this.
- Pupils affected by bullying both those who have been bullied and those who have bullied may need counselling. The school will seek assistance from NEPs as required in each case and will act on advice received.
- 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 was initially adopted by the Board of Management on 8th April 2014.
- It was reviewed in June of 2015 by staff and BOM when certain amendments were made to reflect the operation of the policy on a day to day basis.
- The Board of Management’s annual review of the policy and its implementation was completed at the Board meeting of 14th June 2016.
- 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 and the patron if requested. All parents/guardians of children being inducted into the school are made aware of the anti-bullying policy. Parents are asked to sign that they are aware of all school policies and support the staff in their efforts to provide a positive learning experience for the children in the school. Parents will be asked to sign this promise of support at the pre summer meetings of new entrants.
- 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, if requested, to the patron and the Department.
Signed: ___________________________________ Date:_______________________
Rev. John Carroll (Chairperson B.O.M)
The list of examples below is non exhaustive
Examples of bullying behaviours
General behaviours which apply to all types of bullying
· Harassment based on any of the nine grounds in the equality legislation e.g. sexual harassment, homophobic bullying, racist bullying etc.
· Physical aggression
· Damage to property
· Name calling
· The production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other materials aimed at intimidating another person
· Offensive graffiti
· Insulting or offensive gestures
· The “look”
· Invasion of personal space
· A combination of any of the types listed.
· Denigration: Spreading rumors, lies or gossip to hurt a person’s reputation
· Harassment: Continually sending vicious, mean or disturbing messages to an individual
· Impersonation: Posting offensive or aggressive messages under another person’s name
· Flaming: Using inflammatory or vulgar words to provoke an online fight
· Trickery: Fooling someone into sharing personal information which you then post online
· Outing: Posting or sharing confidential or compromising information or images
· Exclusion: Purposefully excluding someone from an online group
· Cyber stalking: Ongoing harassment and denigration that causes a person considerable fear for his/her safety
· Silent telephone/mobile phone call
· Abusive telephone/mobile phone calls
· Abusive text messages
· Abusive email
· Abusive communication on social networks e.g. Facebook/Ask.fm/ Twitter/You Tube or on games consoles
· Abusive website comments/Blogs/Pictures
· Abusive posts on any form of communication technology
Identity Based Behaviours
Including any of the nine discriminatory grounds mentioned in Equality Legislation (gender including transgender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race and membership of the Traveller community).
Homophobic and Transgender
· Spreading rumours about a person’s sexual orientation
· Taunting a person of a different sexual orientation
· Name calling e.g. Gay, queer, lesbian...used in a derogatory manner
· Physical intimidation or attacks
Race, nationality, ethnic background and membership of the Traveller community
· Discrimination, prejudice, comments or insults about colour, nationality, culture, social class, religious beliefs, ethnic or traveller background
· Exclusion on the basis of any of the above
This involves manipulating relationships as a means of bullying. Behaviours include:
· Malicious gossip
· Isolation & exclusion
· Excluding from the group
· Taking someone’s friends away
· Spreading rumours
· Breaking confidence
· Talking loud enough so that the victim can hear
· The “look”
· Use or terminology such as ‘nerd’ in a derogatory way
· Unwelcome or inappropriate sexual comments or touching
Special Educational Needs,
· Name calling
· Taunting others because of their disability or learning needs
· Taking advantage of some pupils’ vulnerabilities and limited capacity to recognise and defend themselves against bullying
· Taking advantage of some pupils’ vulnerabilities and limited capacity to understand social situations and social cues.
· Mimicking a person’s disability
· Setting others up for ridicule
Combating Bullying and the Action towards Prevention:
Role of staff
Advice for Pupils
The teachers will take you seriously and will deal with bullies in a way which will end the bullying and will not make things worse for you.
IF YOU KNOW SOMEONE IS BEING BULLIED:
· TAKE ACTION – Watching and doing nothing looks as if you are on the side of the bully. It makes the victim feel more unhappy and on their own.
· If you feel you cannot get involved, tell an adult IMMEDIATELY. Teachers have ways dealing with the bully without getting you into trouble.
· Do not be, or pretend to be, friends with a bully.
Advice for Parents
Appendix 3 Template for recording bullying behaviour
- Name of pupil being bullied and class group
Name _________________________________________ Class ______________________
- Name(s) & class(es) of pupil(s) engaged in bullying behaviour
- Source of bullying concern/report 4. Location of incidents (tick
(tick relevant box(es))* relevant box(es))*
- Name of person(s) who reported the bullying concern
- Type of bullying behaviour (tick relevant box(es))*
Damage to Property
- Where behaviour is regarded as identity-based bullying, indicate the relevant category:
Membership of Traveller Community
- Brief Description of bullying behaviour and its impact
- Details of actions taken
Signed ____________________________________ (Relevant Teacher) Date _______________
Date submitted to Principal/Deputy Principal ___________________
*Note: The categories listed in the tables 3, 4 & 6 are suggested & schools may add to or amend these to suit their own circumstances.