SCOIL BHRÍDE ANTI-BULLYING POLICY

 

1. Introductory Statement

This is an update of the School’s 2004 Anti-Bullying Policy.

This policy is based on the DES ‘Guidelines on Countering Bullying Behaviour in Primary and Post-Primary Schools’ (1993).

Definition of Bullying

Bullying is repeated aggression, verbal, psychological, or physical, conducted by an individual or group against others (DES Guidelines) . Bullying can take many forms but its aim is to make the person feel upset, intimidated or afraid.

The most common forms of bullying are:

Physical aggression: pushing, shoving, kicking, hitting;

Verbal: name-calling, teasing, insulting, humiliating, spreading mean, hurtful or untrue gossip or rumour about an individual;

Non-verbal: making suggestive, provocative or intimidating gestures;

Emotional: making threats, excluding, isolating, ignoring etc.

Written and E-Bullying: writing notes, sending threatening upsetting messages, images, phone calls or texts;

Personal Property: interference or damage to clothing, school books or materials or other property.

It is important not to confuse bullying with isolated incidents of aggressive or anti-social behaviour, which must not be condoned. However, when behaviour becomes systematic and ongoing it becomes bullying.

The school does not tolerate or condone bullying of any form.

2. Rationale

The existing Anti-Bullying policy is due for renewal.

3. Relationship to Characteristic Spirit of the School

Scoil Bhríde is a Roman Catholic School and aims to promote the full and harmonious development of the pupil. The mission statement of the school states that we are concerned with the intellectual, physical, cultural, moral, aesthetic, physical and social development of our students in close co-operation with home, church, and civic community.  The inalienable rights and responsibilities of each student are acknowledged in the mission statement of Scoil Bhríde. The school is committed to Gospel values in its daily living. Central to this is the maxim: always treat others as you would like them to treat you.

In this context, all members of the school community endeavour to create a happy, safe and  secure environment in which everyone can develop their full potential. Taking cognisance of the cultural diversity of our pupils, the school aims to promote an inclusive environment. This policy aims to help produce a school community free from bullying.

4. Aims

By introducing this policy the school community hopes:

–          to raise awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behaviour with school management, teaching and non-teaching staff, parents and guardians;

–          to create a school ethos which encourages children to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour;

–          to develop procedures for investigating and dealing with incidents of bullying behaviour.

5. Guidelines

5.1 Preventative Strategies

–  The school staff will foster an atmosphere of friendship, respect and tolerance. Children’s self-esteem will be developed through celebrating individual differences, achievements, acknowledging and rewarding good behaviour and manners and providing opportunities for success throughout the curriculum and school;

– Teachers will help children develop empathy by discussing feelings and trying to put themselves in the place of others;

– Children are made aware that bullying is an unacceptable form of behaviour. This is done explicitly through the Stay Safe Programme, the Walk Tall Programme (c.f. school policy SPHE). Opportunities also arise in Religion lessons and other subjects;

– Similarly the school’s Code of Behaviour emphasises the promotion of respectful behaviour (c.f. Scoil Bhríde’s Code of Behaviour);

 – Scoil Bhríde has comprehensive supervision and monitoring measures in place.

– Non-teaching staff are encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them.

5.2 Procedures for Reporting and Investigating Bullying  Incidents

– Teachers respond sensitively to pupils who disclose incidents of bullying and investigate all disclosed incidents of bullying;

– Answers will be sought to the questions of what, where, when, who and why;

– Investigation is usually carried out outside the classroom to ensure confidentiality and to avoid humiliation;

– If a group of children are involved, it is normal practice to first interview each one individually, (in the presence of two adults). Then the group as a whole meets and each member is asked for her account of what happened to ensure that everyone is clear about what everyone else has said;

– Pupils who are not directly involved may be asked for information if deemed appropriate;

– If a child reports electronic bullying, parents are informed;

5.3 Responding to Bullying

If it is determined that bullying has occurred it is dealt with as circumstances require:

–          Support will be provided for anyone who is bullied by offering them an immediate opportunity to talk about their experience with their teacher or other teacher along with continuing support when they feel they need it. A victim will be assured that the school community will help them and put monitoring procedures in place  to safeguard them;

–          In all serious incidents parents of the victim are informed;

–          Help and support will also be sought for the bully. This will include speaking to them to discover why they became involved. The bully will be helped see things from the victim’s point of view. In serious cases (determined jointly by the teacher and principal) parents are informed. The school’s Code of Behaviour applies and if necessary appropriate sanctions are enforced (e.g. loss of privilege, make good any damage or loss).  The aim of all intervention is to modify the bully’s behaviour and to prevent reoccurrence. If necessary outside agencies e.g. NEPS will be asked to supply support;

–          Incidents of bullying will be used as opportunities for reinforcing the Anti-Bullying policy of the school. Follow up meetings may be arranged as appropriate to assess progress and/or restore relationships. In all cases every effort is made for all parties to learn from the experience and to move on from it ;

–          All serious incidents of bullying (according to the definition) are reported to the principal or deputy principal.

6. Success Criteria

Indicators of success include:

–          positive feedback from teachers, parents and pupils. This may be monitored at staff meetings, parent/teacher meetings and in class discussion time;

–          observations of good behaviour in class, corridors and in the playground;

–          fewer incidents of bullying in the school.

7. Roles and Responsibilities

The implementation of this policy will be the responsibility of  each class teacher, supervising teacher and non-teaching staff who will endeavour to uphold its aims and follow the procedures as stated above.

The Principal has overall responsibility for the implementation of the policy.

The Board of Management is responsible for ensuring that all members of the school  community are enabled to deal effectively with Bullying. The Board will ensure that proper supervisory and monitoring measures are in place to prevent Bullying and  to deal with incidents appropriately as they arise.

It is the responsibility of Parents/Guardians to encourage their children to behave in an appropriate matter; to adhere to the rules of the school. Parents can also watch out from signs that their child is being bullied or bullying others. They have an important role to play in helping to build their child’s self-esteem and confidence.

 

 

8. Timeframe for Implementation/Review

This policy will be effective from September 2010.  It will be reviewed and amended if necessary during last term of this school year (2010-2011)

 

 

9. Ratification and Communication

This policy was ratified officially by the Board of Management on 06.09.2010

Sr. Maryjohn, Chairperson, Bord Scoil Bhríde