Anti-Bullying Policy

Ratified BOM: 25-10-2011

Definition of Bullying

Definition: Bullying consists of repeated inappropriate behaviour whether by word, by physical action or otherwise, directly or indirectly applied, by one or more persons against another person or persons which undermines the individual person’s right to personal dignity. Note: This is not to be confused with the good-natured banter that goes on as part of the normal social interchange between students or the normal professional classroom management by teachers.


Types of behaviour deemed to be inappropriate:

    •    Humiliation; including name-calling, reference to academic ability etc.
    •    Intimidation; including aggressive use of body language.
    •    Verbal abuse, anonymous or otherwise.
    •    Physical abuse or threatened abuse.
    •    Aggressive or obscene language.
    •    Offensive joke; whether spoken or by email, text messaging etc.
    •    Victimisation; including very personal remarks.
    •    Exclusion and isolation.
    •    Intrusion through interfering with personal possessions or locker.
    •    Repeated unreasonable assignment to duties that are obviously unfavourable.
    •    Repeated unreasonable deadlines or tasks.
    •    Threats, including demands for money.
    •    An attack by rumour, gossip, innuendo or ridicule on any
individual’s reputation
    •    Hostile or offensive comments about a person’s sexual orientation.

    

It is envisaged that each class will be spoken to, to discuss these guidelines.

Topics to be dealt with will include:
    •    A definition of bullying behaviour
    •    Types of bullying
    •    Effects of bullying
    •    Indications of bullying behaviour – signs and symptoms
    •    Characteristics of bullying behaviour
    •    Where bullying behaviour is likely to happen
    •    Strategies for coping with bullying
Cyber Bullying

In the case of cyber bullying we will work in consultation with the parents and where deemed necessary we will further collaborate with the Gardai. However it is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to report the incident to the Gardai  if they wish to pursue this course of action.

Procedures for dealing with victims/bullies and sanctions for bullying behaviour

Sanctions

The procedures for dealing with bullying behaviour:

Sanctions may include;

    •    A contract of good behaviour
    •    Withdrawal of privileges
    •    Other sanctions as may be deemed appropriate
    •    Suspension
    •    Expulsion

    •    Students who engage in persistent bullying behaviour will be counselled and parents/guardians will be contacted.
    •    Bullying behaviour involving serious physical assault on another person on the school premises may result in suspension.

A special meeting of the Board of Management may be convened to decide the future of any student engaging in such behaviour.


While the school authorities will co-operate in so far as possible with parents, they cannot accept responsibility for behaviour of students outside school or normal school hours.

Procedures for Parents whose child is a victim of Bullying Behaviour

These parents should:
    •    Record the nature of the bullying behaviour e.g. physical or verbal.
    •    Establish where and when the bullying is taking place.
    •    Explore the possibility that their child may have provoked the bullying behaviour.
    •    Investigate whether their child has made efforts to deal with the bullying behaviour.
    •    Consult the deputy principal/principal in cases of persistent and very serious bullying.
Parents of students engaged in Bullying Behaviour

These parents should:
    •    Try to find out why their child is bullying.
    •    Ensure their child apologises to the student bullied.
    •    Help their child reappraise his/her behaviour.
    •    Evaluate the quality of their own relationship with their child.
    •    Seek the advice of the guidance counsellor if necessary.
    •    Apply appropriate sanctions.
    •    Sternly warn their child to desist from bullying in future.
    •    Co-operate fully with the school authorities.

Note
    •    Some students become temporary bullies after experiencing events such as a death/birth or separation of parents.
    •    Parents who have received information regarding bullying behaviour have a responsibility to alert the school authorities whether their child is involved or not.
    •    Parents are advised that appropriate sanctions will be imposed by the school where bullying behaviour is established.

Guidelines for Parents

The following signs/symptoms may suggest that one’s child is being bullied:

    •    Anxiety expressed about travelling to and from school – requesting parents to drive or collect him/her, to change route of travel, to avoid regular times for travelling to and from school.
    •    Unwillingness to go to school, refusal to attend, mitching.
    •    Deterioration in educational performance, loss of concentration and loss of enthusiasm and interest in school.
    •    Pattern of physical illness (e.g. headaches, stomach aches).
    •    Unexplained changes in mood or behaviour.  These may be particularly noticeable before returning to school after weekends or more especially after longer school holidays.
    •    Spontaneous out-of-character comments about other students or teachers.
    •    Possessions missing or damaged.
    •    Increased requests for money or instances of stealing money.
    •    Unexplained bruising or cuts or damaged clothing.
    •    Reluctance and/or refusal to say what is troubling him/her

Those signs do not necessarily mean that a child is being bullied. If repeated or occurring in combination, however they do warrant investigation in order to establish what is affecting the child.


Controlling Bullying

Procedures for Teachers

Reporting
    •    Teachers and staff are advised to report incidents of bullying to the School Management.
    •    All parents will be made aware of the person/persons to whom they should talk if they feel their child is either being bullied or bullying.
    •    Where possible, incidents of bullying will be investigated outside the classroom so that the public humiliation of all concerned is avoided.
    •    All reports of bullying will be documented in writing.
    •    All students involved will be spoken to separately in an attempt to get both sides to the story.  All interviews will be conducted with sensitivity and due regard to the rights of all.
    •    If a gang is involved, members will be interviewed separately and as a group if appropriate.
    •    If it is established that a student has been involved in bullying behaviour, it should be made clear to him/her how he/she is in breach of the code of behaviour and efforts should be made to get him/her to see the situation from the victim’s point of view.
    •    The parents or guardians of the two parties involved will be contacted and arrangements made to meet them at an appropriate time.  
    •    Follow-up meetings will be arranged with victim and bully to ensure that bullying has not continued.

Procedures for Students

Students
Students who are unable to successfully deal with bullying behaviour should:
    •    inform a Parent/Guardian
    •    confide in a member of the School Authorities such as

    •    Teacher
    •    Deputy Principal
    •    Principal
    •    Staff member

Students who report Bullying Behaviour are assured of the following:
    •    Confidentiality.
    •    A sensitive approach in dealing with the victim and the bully.

Note:
    •    Any student who reports Bullying Behaviour will be regarded as behaving responsibly and will be commended.
    •    The “victim” and the “bully” will be monitored over a period of time to ensure there is no further unacceptable behaviour.