Abbeyleix South National School

Scoil Náisiúnta Mainistir Laoise Theas

Anti-Bullying Policy

School 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 Abbeyleix South 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
    • 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
    • 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)
  • 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.

See Appendix 1  –  Types of Bullying

See Appendix 2   –  Examples of bullying behaviours.

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 the procedures the relevant teacher will be the class teacher
  • Non-teaching staff such as the secretary / receptionist, Special Needs Assistant (SNA) and cleaner are encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher

The education and prevention strategies for anti-bullying, cyber bullying and identity based bullying  that will be used by  Abbeyleix South National School are as follows:

 

Anti-bullying Prevention & Education Strategies

Teachers

  • All staff are aware of the Anti-bullying Policy available in the school
  • The topic of bullying is dealt with in the classroom through the Social, Personal and Health Education Programme, the Stay Safe Programme and the Religious Education Programme

We listen to children and encourage them to tell about bullying

We are fair

Differences between individuals are celebrated

We raise children’s self-esteem

We are assertive, not aggressive, role models

Anti-bullying policies and procedures are devised and implemented

We act immediately to stop and condemn bullying, fighting or cruelty

We make it clear to pupils that there will be consequences for bullying

We keep records of incidents

We do not blame victims for being bullied

We encourage and reward good behaviour

(Stop Bullying Pocketbook 2nd Edition  Outside the Box.  Page 29)

  • At the start of each term, the topic of bullying is covered in Assembly. During these assemblies, the definition of bullying is explained and revised.  Strategies are explained to children as to what to do if they feel they are being bullied
  • All teaching staff are actively involved in the supervision of pupils during both break periods
  • Minor misdemeanours as per our Code of Behaviour are recorded by teachers in the Weekly Reward Book and signed by parents

 

Anti-bullying Prevention & Education Strategies

Pupils

  • Pupils will have read The Code of Behaviour, Classroom Rules and The Anti-Bullying Policy
  • Pupils will participate in classes related to “Bullying” as outlined in The Stay Safe Programme

 

Anti-bullying Prevention & Education Strategies

Parents

Parents will

  • Read the schools Code of Behaviour and Anti-Bullying  Policy and encourage his / her child to be respectful of others and to follow all rules and guidelines laid down in these  policies
  • Ensure that Reward Books are read and signed each week
  • Discuss S.P.H.E. (Stay Safe) homework worksheets with his / her child to  reinforce classroom teaching

 

Cyber-bullying Prevention & Education Strategies

Teachers

All teachers will

  • Explain what cyber-bullying is and what forms it can take
  • Encourage children and young people to take responsibility for their words and actions online and sensitise children and young people to the impact that their words and actions online can have
  • Support children and young people to fully appreciate the damaging and sometimes devastating consequences of cyber-bullying on victims
  • Highlight to children and young people that there can also be adverse consequences for those who engage in cyber-bullying, including the existence of a permanent record of their actions, which they may regret in the future when they are no longer involved in this kind of behaviour
  • Advise children and young people about what they should do if they experience or come across cyber-bullying – for example, save the comments / emails; speak to a parent, teacher or another trusted adult about it;  and report it immediately to the service provider

(Dealing with Bullying in Schools  by Ombudsman  Page 23)

  • Inform pupils of appropriate websites that they may access during school time
  • Allocate a specific laptop (each laptop is numbered) to senior pupils to ensure safe monitoring of internet

While bullying involves a repetition of unwelcome behaviour the “Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools, September 2013”, states

2.1.3 In addition, in the context of these procedures, 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”.

Cyber-bullying Prevention & Education Strategies

Pupils

Pupils will be encouraged during S.P.H.E. classes to:

  • Ask permission before using the internet
  • Refrain from sending personal information about themselves or family to anyone they encounter on line
  • Tell their parents or teachers about any upsetting or frightening material they may find on-line
  • Share all fun material they find on-line with their parents / guardians
  • Keep their password a secret and not even tell their best friend
  • Not meet in person any one they meet on-line unless their parents / guardians are with them
  • Treat others on-line the way they would like to be treated

             (Webwise Primary Teachers’ Handbook  NCTE )

 

Cyber-bullying Prevention & Education Strategies

Parents

Parents will

  • Discover the internet with their child
  • Encourage his / her child to be respectful of others online
  • Outline rules of internet use to his / her  child at home
  • Monitor his / her child’s use of the internet
  • Instruct his / her child how to react to unwanted e-mails
  • Encourage his / her child to be careful when disclosing personal information online
  • Talk about the risks associated with meeting online friends
  • Teach his / her child about “Source Criticism” on the internet (not all information online is correct)
  • Not be too critical towards his / her child’s exploration of the internet (it’s not always their fault if they come across inappropriate content on the web)
  • Report online material he / she may consider illegal to the appropriate authorities
  • Remember that the positive aspects of the internet out-weigh the negative aspects

(Websise – Primary Teachers’ Handbook  NCTE )

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:

 

 

 

Investigation Outline

  • In the event of a report of bullying, the investigation, follow-up and recording procedures will be outlined to each set of pupils and parents from the onset, by the relevant teacher and principal
  • The relevant teacher investigates the report of bullying to resolve any issues and to restore, as far as practicable, the relationships of the parties involved (rather than to apportion blame)
  • The teacher will exercise his / her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and to determine how best the situation might be resolved
  • All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying will be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher
  • It will 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
  • Parents and pupils are required to be co-operative with the investigation procedure and to assist the school in resolving any issues

 

Investigation Procedures

  • Incidents of bullying will be investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved and will be conducted with sensitivity and with due regard to the rights of all pupils concerned
  • The relevant teacher will seek answers to questions of what, where, when, who and why
  • Each individual pupil will be asked to write down his / her account of the incident(s)
  • If a group is involved, each member will be interviewed individually at first. Then those involved will be  met as a group.  At this group meeting, each member is asked  for his / her account of what happened to ensure that everyone in the group is clear about each other’s statement
  • Each member of a group will be supported through the possible pressures that they may face from the other members of the group after interview by the teacher
  • The parents of the parties involved will be contacted once it has been determined by the relevant teacher that bullying behaviour has occurred, to inform them of the matter and to explain the actions being taken

 

 

Follow – Up

  • Parents will be given the opportunity of discussing the action being taken by the school and ways of supporting this action
  • It will be made clear to the pupil who has engaged in the bullying behaviour, that he / she is in breach of the school’s anti-bullying policy
  • Efforts will be made by the relevant teacher and parents to get the pupil who has engaged in the bullying behaviour to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied
  • It will 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
  • Follow-up meetings with the relevant parties involved will 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

See Appendix 3 – Template for recording bullying behaviour

 

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 adopted by the Board of Management on    14th December 2016

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.

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.

See Appendix 4 – Checklist for annual review of the anti-bullying policy and its implementation.

 

Ratified by Board of Management on______________________

Signed:  ___________________________________

Chairperson, Board of Management

bullying policy