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 All Saints’ 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.
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 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.
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 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.
4. The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying is (are) as follows:
- The child’s class teacher will be the first to investigate and deal with an incident of bullying. If bullying persists the principal will be informed.
5. The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber- bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying) that will be used by the school are as follows
- Creation of a culture of “telling”
- Teachers should repeatedly reinforce the message that if anyone is the victim of bullying behaviour, they should not retaliate in any way, but they should tell an adult. Victims should be reassured that if they tell, something will be done about the bullying in a safe manner and all reported incidents will be dealt with.
- Class lessons to enable pupils “how to tell”
- Bystanders can be the key to resolving bullying and if anyone witnesses bullying behaviour, they should always tell a teacher. This is not telling tales but a means of protecting victims.
- The school has a policy of no mobile phones in school
- Children are supervised by an adult when using the internet
- There is a filtering system in place to ban certain websites i.e. You Tube
- SPHE programme in each class deals with the issue of bullying and appropriate strategies to deal with bullying are taught to each class.
- Parents are informed of Anti-Bullying sessions which they are invited to attend.
- Children in 5th class will complete the Friends for Life programme which deals with self-esteem issues. This programme has been recommended by NEPS. It helps to build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils.
- Webwise programme from 1st class to 6th class
- Placing a worry box in the classroom from 1st to 6th class, where children can write down any incidents that they witness or is happening to them.
As every effort is made during the school day to prevent cyber bullying the school cannot control the use of social media devices at home. Parents will be informed of instances of cyber bullying outside of school which are reported to the staff.
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 class teacher in consultation with supervising teacher on yard will investigate the incident or incidences of bullying.
- When a pupil tells a teacher s/he is being bullied, it is important to gather all of the facts from both sides (What, where, when, who, why)
- Instances are investigated outside the classroom to avoid public humiliations.
- Where possible a witness is present. Sides are listened to separately and notes are taken.
- The notes are brief, factual and should be void of emotional or judgemental language.
- Information spoken about should not become available, so that the victim would be further tormented. (Needs to know basis)
- Parents/ Guardians of victims should be informed of the nature of the incident(s)
Once all of the facts have been acquired and it has been established that bullying has indeed taken place, suitable sanctions should be imposed on the bully. In accordance with the school’s Code of Behaviour these sanctions vary, depending on the seriousness of the infringement, and may include some or all of the following:
- Informing Principal
- Informing Parents / Guardians
- Temporary separation in the classroom
- Temporary withdrawal from class
- Formal meeting with parents / guardians. During this meeting discussions with those involved as to how problem may be resolved will occur. Children may be asked to sign a contract or agreement about future behaviour.
- Informing BOM (if situation is not resolved)
- Suspension (BOM Guidelines)
- Expulsion (refer to Code of Behaviour Policy)
Following imposition of the appropriate sanction(s), the teacher monitors closely the relationships between those involved. Reconciliation of all is seen as the ultimate goal.
7. The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:
- Pupils affected by bullying are reassured from the outset that they are not to blame.
- Strategies for restoring self-esteem are explored between teacher and parents/guardians.
- Where deemed necessary, the child in consultation with parents maybe referred for counseling.
- Staged approach – Class support, School support (as per Continuum – Behavioural, Emotional and Social difficulties – NEPS)
- The parents of the pupils concerned will be advised to contact the local Gardaí if appropriate.
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. 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 adopted by the Board of Management on ________________ [date].
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.
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, if requested, to the patron and the Department.