Anti-bullying policy

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  Moynalvey 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 trans phobic bullying.

Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils;

Support 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,

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.

 

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.  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.

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.

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”.

Cyber-bullying; This type of bullying in 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 penetrate bullying behaviour and does not require fact 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 my be sent homophobic text messages or pictures may be posted with negative comments about a person’s sexuality, appearance etc.

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 of 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.

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 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.

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.

 

 

 

4.  The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying (are)

 

The class teachers; Principal, L/S  and R/T teachers

 

 

 

 

Prevention Strategies

 

A school wide approach to fostering of respect for all members of the school community

The promotion of the value of diversity to address issues of prejudice and stereotyping, and highlight the unacceptability of bullying behaviour.

The fostering and enhancing of the self-esteem of all our pupils through both curricular and extracurricular activities. Pupils will be provided with opportunities to develop a positive sense of self-worth through formal and informal interactions.

Whole staff professional development on bullying to ensure that all staff develops an awareness of what bullying is, how it impacts on pupils’ lives and the need to respond to it – prevention and intervention.  Speakers on bullying and cyber bullying invited to school.

An annual audit of professional development needs with a view to assessing staff requirements through internal staff knowledge/expertise and external sources.

School wide awareness raising and training on all aspects of bullying, to include pupils, parents(s)/guardian(s) and wider school community.

Supervision and monitoring of classrooms, corridors, school grounds, school tours and extra-curricular activities.  Non-teaching and ancillary staff will be encouraged to be vigilant and report issues to relevant teachers.  Supervision will also apply to monitoring student use of communication technology within the school.

Buddy system, mentoring, lunchtime 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 Anti-Bullying code for the school-to be displayed publicly in classroom and in school corridor.

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 (every year).

The implementation of regular (e.g. per year/per term/per month/per week) whole school awareness measures e.g., a dedicated notice board in the school and classrooms on the promotion of friendship, and bullying prevention, annual Friendship Week, parent(s)/guardian(s)/seminars.

Encourage a culture of telling, with particular emphasis on the important of bystanders. In that way pupils will gain confidence in “telling”. This confidence factor is of vital importance. It should be made clear to all pupils that when they report incidents of bullying they are not considered to be telling tales but are behaving responsibly.

Ensure 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 note up with homework

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

Anti-bullying box.

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 the bullying is taking place.

 

Identify clear protocols to encourage parent(s)/guardian(s) to approach the school if they suspect that their child is being bullied. The protocol should be developed in consultation with parents.

The development of an Acceptable Use Policy in the school to include the necessary steps to ensure that the access to technology within the school is strictly monitored, as is the pupils’ use of mobile phones.

The listing of supports currently being used in the school and the identification of other supports available to the school e.g., SPHE Stay Safe, RSE Programmes, Outside speakers on Anti-bullying, Gardaí.

 

 

Implementation of curricula

 

The full implementation of the SPHE and Outside Speakers on anti-bullying and the RSE and Stay Safe Programmes

Continuous Professional Development for staff in delivering these programmes.

School wide delivery of  lessons on bullying from evidence based programmes. e.g., Stay Safe Programme, The Walk Tall Programme.

School wide delivery of lessons on Bullying

Cyber Bullying Homophobic and Transphobic Bullying Diversity and Interculturalism, Yellow Flag Programme. Cyber + Bullying workshop.  These lessons, delivered by Community Gardaí, cover issues around personal safety and cyber-bullying

The school will specifically consider the additional needs of SEN pupils with regard to programming implementation and the development of skills and strategies to enable all pupils to respond appropriately.

The school will implement the advice in “Sexual Orientation advice for schools” (RSE Primary, see booklet). Other links to other policies.

 

Links to other policies

 

School policies, practices and activities that are particularly relevant to bullying, Code of Behaviour, Child Protections policy, Supervision of pupils, Acceptable Use Policy, Attendance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Procedures 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 partiesinvolved (rather than to apportion blame);

 

The school’s procedures must be consistent with the following approach.

Every effort will be made to ensure that all involved (including pupils, parent(s)/guardian(s) understand this approach from the outset

 

Reporting bullying behaviour

 

 

Any pupil or parent(s)/guardian(s) may bring a bullying incident to 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 (Sna’s), caretakers, cleaners must report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to the relevant teacher;

 

Investigating and dealing with incidents: Style of approach (see section 6.8.9.)

 

In investigating and dealing with bullying, the teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best the situation might be resolved;

 

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 should take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach.

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;

If a group is involved, each member should be interviewed individually at first.  Therefore, 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;

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 parent(s)/guardian(s) of the parties involved should be contacted at an early stage to inform them of the matter and explain 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 and 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 has been resolved as far as is practicable;

Whether the relationships between the parties have been restored as far as is practicable;

Any feedback received from the parties involved, their parent(s)/guardian(s) 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 bullies is ready and agreeable.

Where a parent(s)/guardian(s) is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, the parent(s)/guardian(s) must be referred, as appropriate, to the school’s complaints procedures.

In the event that a parent(s)/guardian(s) has exhausted the school’s complaints procedures and is still not satisfied, the school must advise the parent(s)/guardian(s) of their 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 that bullying has occurred.

All staff must keep a written record of any incidents witnessed by them or notified to them. The records will be made in the class book.  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 State 1 – 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.

 

 

The school in consultation with the relevant teacher/s should develop a protocol for the storage of all records retained by the relevant teacher.  All records of bullying behaviour are recorded in class book, which will be kept in a locked file.

 

 

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. Where the school has decided as part of its anti-bullying policy that in certain circumstances bullying behaviour must be recorded and reported immediately to the Principal or Deputy Principal as applicable.

 

When the recording template is used, it must be retained by the relevant teacher in question and a copy maintained by the principal.

These records will be kept in a safe locked file.

 

Established intervention strategies

 

 

Teacher interviews with all pupils

Negotiating agreements between pupils and following these up by monitoring progress.  This can be on an informal basis or implemented through a more structured mediation process.

Working with parent(s)/guardians(s) to support school interventions.

No Blame Approach

Circle time

 

The Procedures mention the following intervention strategies and reference Ken Rigby;

www.bullyingawarenessweek.org/pdf/BullingPreventionStrategies inSchoolsKenRigby.pdf

 

The traditional disciplinary approach

Strengthening the victim

Restorative Practice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.      The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows;

 

 

(All in-school supports and opportunities will provide for the pupils affected by bullying to participate in activities designed to raise their self-esteem, to develop friendships and social skills and build resilience e.g.

Buddy System/Peer mentoring system, group work e.g., Circle Time.

 

If pupils require counselling of further supports the school will endeavour to liaise with the appropriate agencies to organise same i.e., NEPS and HSE.  This may be for the pupil affected by bullying or involved in the bullying behaviour.

Pupils should understand that there are no innocent bystanders and that all incidents of bullying behaviour must be reported to a teacher.  STAY SAFE PROGRAMME implemented.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

The following Prompt Questions may be useful in considering this aspect of the policy;

 

•     Are there agreed appropriate monitoring and supervision practices in the school?  (Yes, they have)

•     Have bullying danger spots been identified? (Yes they have …   hall)

•     Have parents and pupils been consulted in the identification of these danger spots?

•     How will the student support/care structures (including year heads, class tutors, SPHE, Guidance, RE, Learning Support Teachers) support measures to counteract bullying behaviour?

•     How will pupils, in particular senior pupils, ;be involved as a resource  to assist in counteracting  bullying? In this regard, has a mentoring/buddy system been considered?

•     How will the student council and school clubs be involved?

•     In relation to Acceptable Use Policy in the school are the following issues addressed;

•     Are all Internet sessions supervised by a teacher. (blocked)

•     Does the school regularly monitor pupils’ Internet usage?

•     Have pupils been instructed to use only approved class accounts for e-mail purposes and to use these only under teacher supervision?

•     Have pupils been instructed to access only those chat rooms, discussion forums and messaging or other electronic communication forms that have been approved by the school?

(Note that the Schools Broadband Programme has blocked all social networking sites on the basis that they waste time and take up too much of the bandwidth which is being provided for educational purposes only)

 

 

Effective practice includes prevention and awareness raising measures across all aspect 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.

 

As self-esteem is a major factor in determining behaviour, schools should, through both their curricular and extra-curricular programmes, provide pupils with opportunities to develop a positive sense of self-worth.

 

Initiatives and programmes focused on developing pupils’ awareness and understanding of bullying, including its causes and effects, should deal explicitly with the issue of identity-based bullying and in particular homophobic and transphobic bullying.  For example, the inclusion of LGBT posters on notice boards, discussions with parents about specific statements of welcome and respect of LGBT members of the school community, teaching the Social, Personal, Health Education (SPHE) resource, Growing Up LGBT and participating in LGBT awareness events are just some of the ways in which a school can address homophobic and transphobic bullying.

 

Prevention and awareness raising measures must also deal explicitly with cyber-bullying.  The best way to address cyber-bullying is prevent it happening in the first place.  Prevention and awareness raising measures should focus on educating pupils on appropriate online behaviour, how to stay safe while on-line and also on developing a culture  of reporting any concerns about cyber-bullying.  The prevention and awareness raising measures should also take into account the scope of cyber-bullying to occur as a result of access to technology from within the school.

 

A school-wide approach (involving school management, staff, parents and pupils) to dealing with the problem of bullying behaviour is a key element of effective practice.  Bullying behaviour affects not only those immediately involved.  I can affect everyone in the classroom, in the school and, ultimately, in the wider community.

 

A positive school-wide attitude and involvement can assist considerably in countering bullying behaviour in schools. In addition to the role of management and staff, parents and pupils have a role and responsibility in helping the school to prevent and address school based bullying behaviour and to deal with any negative impact within school of bullying behaviour that occurs elsewhere.  Parents should also recognise that a school that openly discusses bullying is acting positively and that they need to work with their school to ensure there is coherent, school-wide approach to tackling the issue.

 

Bullying behaviour thrives in an atmosphere of uncertainty and secrecy in which the pupil often feels a sense of hopelessness and futility against the power being exercised by the person engaged in bullying behaviour.  A high degree of school-wide vigilance and openness is important in ensuring that bullying behaviour can be adequately tackled.

 

The promotion of relevant home/school/community links is important for all schools in regard to countering bullying behaviour and should be encouraged as a normal part of the school’s effective operation.  For example, bullying behaviour can often occur on the journey to and/or from school.  An anti-bullying school policy should embrace, as appropriate, those members of the wider community who come directly in daily contact with school pupils.  School bus drivers, school traffic wardens and local shopkeepers should be encouraged to play a positive role in assisting schools to counter bullying behaviour by reporting such behaviour to parents and/or to the school as appropriate.  Through such approaches, a network is formed.

 

In certain cases, however, it may be necessary for the school to seek the assistance of other local persons and formal agencies such as NEPS, HSE social workers, community workers, Gardaí etc.

 

A school’s approach to tackling and preventing bullying should take particular account of the needs of pupils with disabilities or with SEN, should join up with other relevant school policies and supports and should ensure that all the services that provide for such pupils work together.  Approaches to decreasing the likelihood of bullying for pupils with SEN include improving inclusion, focusing on developing social skills, paying attention to key moments such as transitioning from primary to post-primary and  cultivating a good school culture which has respect for all and helping one another as  central.

 

A school’s prevention and awareness raising measures need to be appropriate to the type of bullying and take into account the age and gender of the pupils involved.  Each school must work to raise the awareness of bullying so that all members of the school community understand what bullying is and how the school deals with bullying behaviour.

 

Schools could for example choose to have a staff day on the subject of bullying  complemented by an awareness day for pupils and parents.  An awareness day can help give the parents of a pupil who is being bullied the confidence to approach the school and also  helps to send a clear message to the parents of a pupil who is engaged in bullying behaviour that they have a major responsibility in addressing their child’s behaviour.

 

Teachers can influence attitudes to bullying behaviour in a positive manner through a range of curricular initiatives.  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 programme at primary , is a person safety skills programme which seeks to enhance children’s self-protection skills including their ability to recognise and cope with bullying.  The Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE) programme at post-primary provides opportunities to explore and discuss areas such as human sexuality and relationships, which has particular relevance to identity-based bullying.  Various other social, health and media education programmes can further help to address the problem of bullying behaviour.  For example, the Schools for Health in Ireland framework provides guidance on developing a health promoting school.

 

There is space within the teaching of all subjects to foster an attitude of respect for all; to promote the value of diversity; to address prejudice and stereotyping and to highlight the unacceptability of bullying behaviour.  In English, there is a wide range of literature available which could be used to stimulate discussion.  In Civil, Social and Political Education (CSPE), the interdependence of people in communities at local, national and international  levels is stressed.   In Geography and History references to colonisation, exploitation and dictatorships can be used to illustrate the negative aspect of power.  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, school clubs and societies as well as through practical subjects.  Sporting activities  in particular can provide excellent opportunities for channelling and learning how to control aggression.

 

 

 

6.  Consistent investigation, follow up and recording of bullying behaviour     (including use of established intervention strategies.)

 

A consistent and clear approach to dealing with bullying when it occurs is essential to effective practice.  This section provides guidance and direction for schools in relation to the need to use established intervention strategies and ensuring consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour.

 

A pupil or parent may bring a bullying concern to any teacher in the school.  Individual teachers must take appropriate measures regarding reports of bullying behaviour in accordance with the school’s anti-bullying policy.

 

In these procedures, the member of teaching staff who has responsibility for investigating and dealing with bullying is referred to as the “relevant teacher”.  At primary level, the relevant teacher will normally be the class teacher.

 

Procedures for investigating and dealing with bullying.

School authorities must ensure that the school has clear procedures for investigating and dealing with bullying and that these are set out in the school’s anti-bullying policy.  The school’s procedures must be consistent with the following;

 

(i)                 The primary aim for the relevant teacher 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);

 

(ii)               In investigating and dealing with bullying, the teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best the situation might be resolved;

 

(iii)             All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher.  In that way pupils will gain confidence in “telling”.  This confidence factor is of vital importance.  It should be made clear to all pupils that when they report incidents of bullying they are not considered to be telling tales but are behaving responsibly;

 

(iv)             Non-teaching staff such as secretaries, special needs assistance (SNA’s), 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;

 

(v)               Parents 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.

 

(vi)             It is very important  that all involved (including each set of pupils and parents) understand the above approach from the outset;

 

(vii)           Teachers should take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach when dealing with incidents of alleged bullying behaviour reported by pupils, staff or parents;

 

(viii)         Incidents are generally best investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved;

 

(ix)             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;

 

(x)               When analysing incidents of bullying behaviour, the relevant teacher should seek answers to question 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;

 

(xi)             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;

 

(xii)           Each member of a group should be supported through the possible pressures that  may face them from the other members of the group after interview by the teacher;

 

(xiii)         It may also be appropriate or helpful to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident(s)

 

(xiv)         In cases where it has been determined by the relevant teacher that bullying behaviour has occurred, the parents of the parties involved should be contacted at an early stage to inform them of the matter and explain the actions being taken (by reference to the school policy).  The school should 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;

 

(xv)           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;

 

(xvi)         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, his or her parents and the school;

 

(xvii)       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.  This can have a therapeutic effect;

 

(xviii)     In cases where the relevant teacher considers that the bullying behaviour has not be adequately and appropriately addressed with 20 school days after he/she has determined that bullying behaviour has occurred, it must be recorded by the relevant teacher in the recording template at Appendix 3 (See Section 6.8.10 (iii);

 

(xix)         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;

 

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;

 

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.

 

 

Procedures for recording bullying behaviour

 

 

The Board of Management must ensure that the school has clear procedures for the formal noting and reporting of bullying behaviour and these must be documented in the school’s anti-bullying policy.  The school’s procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour must adhere to the following;

 

(i)                 While all reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must 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;

(ii)               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.

(iii)             The relevant teacher must use the recording template at Appendix 3 to record  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)      where the school has decided as part of its anti-bullying policy that in certain circumstances bullying behaviour must be recorded and reported immediately to the Principal or Deputy Principal as applicable.

 

In each of the circumstances at (a) and (b) above, the recording template at Appendix 3 must be completed in full and retained by the teacher in question and a copy provided to the Principal and Deputy Principal as applicable.  It should also be noted that the timeline for recording bullying behaviour in the recording template at Appendix 3 does not in any way preclude the relevant teacher from consulting the Principal or Deputy Principal at an earlier stage in relation to a case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Support for pupils affected by bullying

 

A programme of support for pupils who have been bullied must be in place.  Such pupils may need counselling and/or opportunities to participate in activities designed to raise their self-esteem, to develop their friendship and social skills and thereby build resilience whenever this is needed.

 

A programme of support for those pupils involved in bullying behaviour must also be part of the school’s intervention process.  Pupils involved in bullying behaviour need assistance on an ongoing basis.  For those with low self-esteem, opportunities should be developed to increase feelings of self-worth.  It is, therefore, important that the learning strategies applied within the school allow for the enhancement of the pupil’s self-worth.  Pupils who engage in bullying behaviour may need counselling to help them learn other ways of meeting their needs without violating the rights of others.

 

Pupils who observe incidents of bullying behaviour should be encouraged to discuss them with teachers.

 

The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows;

 

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 practical 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   …

 

This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website (or where none exists, is otherwise readily accessible to parents and pupils on request) and provided to the Parents’ Association (where one exists).  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 will be made available to school personnel, published on the school website (or where none exists, be otherwise readily accessible to parents and pupils on request) and provided to the Parents’ Association (where one exists).  A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sanctions

 

The following strategies may be used to show disapproval of unacceptable behaviour;

 

Reasoning with pupil

Verbal reprimand, including advice on how to improve

Temporary separation from peers, friends and others.

Prescribed additional work signed by parents.

Recording of incident of misbehaviour in the incident book signed by the offender.

Detention during breaks.

Referral to Principal.

 

Pupils who misbehave frequently and who have no remorse for their actions will not be allowed to participate in school outings for their own safety and that of others.  Although incidents of misbehaviour are recorded, the emphasis is on encouraging children to behave well and praise is given for commendable behaviour.  Parents will be informed at an early stage if problems occur and preferably not simply at the point where a crisis has arisen.  At times it has been suggested by some parents that the matters to which their attention is being drawn are of a trivial nature, and that there was no necessity to have informed them that their child has misbehaved.  The response to this is that while the misbehaviour may appear to be of a trivial nature, it is the cumulative effect of such breaches of the rules, which is important as it undermines the ethos of the school.