Introductory Statement:

Our Anti-Bullying Policy was initially drawn up on 10th November 2002 and reviewed on the following dates           

                                    18/02/2004

                                    20/03/2006

                                    16/02/2009

                                    19/10/2010

                                    31/01/2012

                                    14/09/2014

                                    05/04/2016

This policy is based on the DES guidelines “Countering Bullying Behaviour”. It aims to produce a safe and caring environment in which all children can develop to their full potential.

 

The school does not tolerate or condone bullying of any form or at any level of the school community. The Board of Management is committed to ensuring that all members of the school community - pupils, staff, and parents are enabled to act effectively to deal with bullying. This policy guides action and organization within the school for preventing and responding to bullying.

 

Rationale:

Our rationale for devising this policy was the need to provide a safe environment for our pupils and of course, the need to have a written policy on this issue.  Also the need to raise awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behavior.

 

Relationship to Characteristic Spirit of the School:

 

Our school cherishes all pupils equally.  To aid them in achieving their true potential, we strive

 

  • To provide a safe happy environment for each child in the school.
  • To enable each child to live a full life as a child and to realize his/her potential as a unique individual.
  • To enable each child to develop as a social being through living and co-operating with others.

 

Aims:

 

  • To increase the awareness of bullying behaviour in the community as a whole: all staff, pupils, parents…
  • To ensure that there are relevant procedures in place for noting and reporting incidents of bullying behaviour.
  • To develop procedures for investigation and dealing with incidents of bullying behaviour.
  • To develop a programme of support for the ‘bully’ and the ‘victim’.
  • To evaluate the effectiveness of school policy on anti-bullying behaviour.

 

Definition of Bullying

Bullying may be defined as repeated acts of aggression; which may be verbal, psychological cyber or physical conducted by an individual or group against others.

 

Bullying may take many different forms such as physical aggression, damage to property, theft of property, extortion, intimidation, abusive telephone calls, isolation, name calling, writing notes, emailing or texting. As a form of aggressive behaviour it is usually hurtful and deliberate.  It is persistent over time and makes it difficult for those being bullied to defend themselves.

 

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

Prevention

All members of the school community have a role to play in the prevention of bullying.

 

Board of Management

The Board of Management is responsible for ensuring that all members of the school community are enabled to deal effectively with bullying. The Board is committed to providing time and resources for the implementation of the policy. 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.

 

School Staff

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 pupils to develop empathy by discussing feelings and trying to put themselves in the place of others. Relationships with pupils will be based on mutual respect and trust so that pupils will have confidence in the school staff. Teachers will be vigilant, respond sensitively and caringly to pupils who disclose incidents of bullying and investigate all disclosed incidents of bullying.

Teachers will discuss the school's anti-bullying policy with the pupils and use behavioural management strategies which focus on problem solving and enable pupils to take an active role in finding a solution to problems.

The formal curriculum of the school will also be used to educate all pupils against bullying behaviour. Anti-bullying issues may be raised through the school religion programme, the Social Personal and Health Education programme, the Stay Safe Programme, the Arts and/or Circle time.

 

Pupils

Pupils are expected to be tolerant and to have mutual respect for each other. Pupils should report incidents of bullying to their parents and teachers.

 

Parents  

Encourage positive behaviour and discourage negative behaviour both at home and at school.

Encourage children to solve difficulties without resorting to aggression. 

Encourage children to share, to be kind, to be caring, and to be understanding towards others.

Watch out for signs and symptoms that your child is being bullied or is bullying others.

Don't dismiss your instincts as being wrong.

Discuss the school's anti-bullying policy with her/him.

Support the school in its efforts to prevent and treat bullying.

 

Procedures for Reporting and Investigating Bullying Incidents

Bullying incidents should be reported to the class teacher and/or the supervising teacher for investigation. This reporting may be done by the pupil, parent or a friend. All reported incidents which are serious or are part of a pattern of behaviour will be noted, investigated and treated as circumstances require. Serious cases of bullying will be reported to the Principal. Reports of bullying behaviour on the way to and from school will be investigated by the Principal.

 

Responding to Bullying

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

 

The school will inform parents/guardians of what has happened and of the measures being taken to help them, encourage them to report further incidences if they occur.

 

Help and support will be sought for a bully. This will include speaking with them to discover why they became involved, informing their parents/guardians and continuing to work with them in order to modify their behaviour. The school code of behaviour applies to bullying. The bully will be helped to see things from the victim’s point of view. Bullies may be excluded from the playground at lunch break or subject to special monitoring procedures and if bullying continues they may be suspended in accordance with procedure.

 

Any pupil who is involved in retaliation against a pupil who reports bullying will be subject to the school code of discipline. Incidents of bullying will be used as opportunities for re-enforcing the anti-bullying policy of the school. Follow-up meetings may be arranged to assess progress and/or restore relationships.

 

Intervention:

 

  • Incidents will be investigated by teachers / person on duty
  • Approach and order of Investigation.

 

Teachers / Person on duty will seek answers to question of what, where, when, who and why, in a calm manner thereby setting an example in dealing with a conflict in a non-aggressive manner.

 

  • Incidents will be recorded in an ‘Incident Book’.
  • If it is unclear whether or not it is a bullying situation, the parties concerned will be monitored.
  • If the incident or pattern of behaviour is interpreted as a bullying situation the following procedures will apply.

 

a)      The Principal will be informed.  The Principal will speak to the parties concerned and discuss outcome with teacher(s) / person on duty.

b)      If the incident(s) is considered to be serious the Parents/Guardians will be informed..

c)      If the incident(s) is not resolved the Board of Management will be contacted.

 

  • Non-teaching staff will be encouraged to report any incident of bullying.
  • In the case of a complaint regarding a member of staff, this will be raised with the staff member first and if necessary with the Principal and if unresolved at school level then with the Board of Management.

 

Ratified by Board of Management on 09/02/2012

Reviewed on 29/07/2014

Reviewed on 05/04/2016

                                                                

 

___________________________

Signed:  Fr. Colm O Gallchoir

              

 

( Chairperson, Board of Management) 

Appendix 1                   Advice for Parents

 

Effects of Bullying

Bullying can affect pupils in many different ways.  When pupils are bullied their lives may be made miserable.  They may suffer injury.  They may be unhappy about coming to school.  They may lose self-confidence and self esteem, blaming themselves for the bullying.  Some children may experience stressful symptoms such as stomach aches and headaches, nightmares or panic attacks.  (This form of unhappiness is likely to affect their concentration and learning).  If unchallenged other pupils can learn that bullying is a quick and effective way of getting what they want. 

 

Indications of Bullying Behaviour – Signs and Symptoms

The following signs/symptoms may suggest that a pupil is being bullied:

  • Anxiety about travelling to and from school - requesting parents to drive or collect them, changing route of travel, avoiding 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 illnesses (e.g. headaches, stomach aches).
  • Unexplained changes either in mood or behaviour.  It may be particularly noticeable before returning to school after weekends or more especially after longer school holidays.
  • Visible signs of anxiety or distress - stammering, withdrawing, nightmares, difficulty in sleeping, crying, not eating, vomiting, bedwetting.
  • Spontaneous out-of -character comments about either pupils or teachers.
  • Possessions missing or damaged.
  • Increased requests for money or stealing money.
  • Unexplained bruising or cuts or damaged clothing.
  • Reluctance and/or refusal to say what is troubling her/him.

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

 

What can parents do if they suspect their child is being bullied?

  • It is not easy for children to tell about bullying so it is important to talk to your child and let them know that they can tell you if they have a problem.

 

  • Sometimes parents tell a child to ‘hit back’ at the bully.  This can make matters worse.  Teaching children to be confident, and to tell, is far better.

 

  • Teaching the child to say “no” in a good confident tone of voice and to carry themselves in a confident way will deter some bullies.  The child can practise this at home.  Children need to know that safety comes first.  In a situation where a gang attacks the child they should just get away and tell.  Some children with disabilities will not be able to say no or to tell.  If your child has few or no words they may be able to let you know in some other way, e.g. through their play, drawing, or body language.

 

  • Get friends to help.  Encourage your child to invite friends in to play or to go on family outings.

 

  • Children can be encouraged to join in activities where they will not come in contact with the bully.  Identify places where the bullying happens and take care that your child avoids those areas if possible.

 

  • If the bullying is taking place in school, talk to your child’s teacher.  The teacher may be unaware of the problem and will appreciate being told.  Parents and teachers need to work together to help the child.

 

Tell your child that if they see someone else being bullied they should still tell.  There are no innocent bystanders in bullying.

 

Remember:

Many children, with a little help, overcome this problem very quickly.

 

What to do if your child is being bullied

  • Discuss the experience with your child to find out the precise details of what has happened.
  • Reassure her/him that you and the school will help her/him.
  • Discuss with her/him what to do next – he/she may be able to suggest strategies for dealing with it.
  • Encourage her/him to tell his teacher.
  • Contact the school as soon as possible.
  • Follow-up to ensure that the matter is dealt with and resolved.

 

What to tell your child to do if someone they know is being bullied

  • Tell a teacher (privately if necessary)
  • Tell his/her parents - they will contact the school.
  • Talk to the person who is being bullied - you may be able to help her/him.
  •  Reject bullying behaviour among your friends - tell them that it  is wrong to bully.
  •  Help the bullied person to get away from the situation.
  •  Know and follow the school code of discipline.

 

What to tell your child to do if they are being bullied

(a)    Tell the teacher immediately.                    (d)  Tell your parents when you get home.

(b)   Help the teacher to investigate it.             (e)  Tell a friend about what is happening.

(c)    Tell the bully to stop.

 

What to do if your child is a bully

 

  • Talk to your child and try to find out if there is a problem.

 

  • Don’t punish bullying by being a bully yourself.  Hitting or shouting at the child will make the situation worse.

 

  • Let the child know that it is wrong to bully.  Explain how the victim feels.  Try to get your child to understand the victim’s point of view.

 

  • Contact your child’s teacher and let them know about the problem.  Parents and teachers together can help the child.  Other people who care for your child may also be able to help with this problem.

 Ratified by the B.O.M. on 5th April 2016