Scoil Mhuire Anti Bullying Policy (Revised June 2014)
The Scoil Mhuire Board of Management thanks you in advance for reading this very important policy. We want to prevent and tackle bullying behaviour. We encourage everyone to become very familiar with this policy.
To make it easier for you to quickly read this policy, the content includes links to whatever part you are most interested in.
- This Policy is Fully Compliant (see below)
- Key Principles of Best Practice
- What is Bullying – Our Definition
- Who is Responsible For Doing What
- Our Strategies for Education and Prevention
- Our Procedures re Bullying Behaviour
- Our Programme of Support for Pupils
- Cyber Bullying and Key Measures
- What the Board of Management Confirms
- The School Will Act To Stop Any Harassment
- When The Board Approved This Policy
- Where You Can Find This Policy
- How We’ll Review This Policy
- For Staff: The Template For Recording Bullying Behaviour
- For Families: How You Can Support Your Child
- For Everyone: More on Cyber Bullying Behaviours
1. Full Compliance
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 Scoil Mhuire 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.
2. Key Principles of Best Practice
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:
o is welcoming of difference and diversity and is based on inclusivity;
o encourages pupils to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour in a non-threatening environment;
o 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:
o build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils; and
o 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.
3. The Definition of Bullying
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, extortion, isolation, and persistent name calling,
- 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
Negative behaviour that does not meet this definition of bullying will be dealt with in accordance with our school’s code of behaviour.
Additional information on different types of bullying is set out in Section 2 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.
4. Who Is Responsible For Doing What
The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying are as follows:
- John Egan (School Principal)
- Noel Ellis (Deputy Principal)
(They will support victims and offenders.)
Those Responsible For Implementing This Policy:
- Yvonne Ruddy (Learning Support)
Responsibility for links with parents and dispersal of relevant information and supports. Responsibility for supporting teachers in relation to Social Personal Health Education (SPHE), Stay Safe and RSE programmes.
- Yard Monitor: SNA Liaison
Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) will assist teachers in monitoring pupils and activities on yard.
- All Teaching Staff, with the support of SNAs
All Teaching Staff, with the support of SNAs, will investigate and record incidents of bullying behaviour.
- Discipline Committee: John Egan, Noel Ellis, Yvonne Ruddy, Mairéad Ryan, and Amy Dillon
5. Our Education and Prevention Strategies
The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber bullying, homophobic and transphobic bullying) that will be used by the school are as follows:
Department of Education and Science Initiatives
(1) Task force on bullying report to Minister Jan 2013
(2) New guidelines issued by DES in Sept 2013
(3) DES advise that new policy must be in place by Easter 2014
Scoil Mhuire Action Plan
- Revise old policy created in 2010 ( November 2013)
- Discipline Committee Set up.( January 14th 2014)
- Student Council set up. (January 27th 2014)
- Discipline Committee review new DES template & set questions for pupil survey.( January 31st 2014)
- Pupils surveyed by teachers (February 1st 2013)
• What is bullying?
• What can I do?
• What can the school do?
- Parents Association review template & proposed pupil survey BOM review template and set timescale for completion of process
- Discipline committee review all documentation and plan work for staff meeting. (17th February 2014)
- Staff meeting; (March 2014)
-Review of Pupil survey results;
-Review of anti – bullying Statements that are posted on the wall around the school, including cyber – bullying
-Examination of DES reporting template for teachers.
- Student council review pupil survey results.(March 2014)
- Discipline Committee; Review work to date . (April 2014)
- Student Council review anti – bullying 10 Shield Statements. (June 2014)
- Staff meeting; Review draft policy (7th May 2014)
- Parents Association review draft policy (7th May 2014)
- Discipline Committee ; Preparation of draft policy (June 2014)
- BOM approves final draft; (June 2014)
- Policy posted on school website: Week of June 23rd 2014
- Anti- bullying 10 Shield Statements posted in school – to be discussed at assembly at least once a term
- Anti – bullying statements to be printed in new school journal 2014/2015.
Our Child-Friendly Version of our anti – Bullying Statements
- Bullying can happen, anywhere.
- We at Scoil Mhuire have thought about this. We have a plan to limit and stop bullying. Our plan is on our website.
- We do what we say in our plan. We work together to stop bullying. We make a record of bullying events. Every now and again we try to improve our plan.
- Scoil Mhuire’s students, parents, staff, and community shared ideas to create the plan, and will keep talking together to make sure the plan works.
- We at Scoil Mhuire love and appreciate that we’re all different and equal.
- We all – staff and students – keep our eyes and ears open for bullying and we take action to stop it.
- We all – staff and students – keep learning how best to respond to bullying. We must keep trying to improve.
- In class we talk about bullying with the whole class at least once a term. We also learn about how to deal with situations through SPHE. We look for the good in everyone. We aim to build each other up and never knock anyone down.
- Any child at Scoil Mhuire can talk to a trusted adult at Scoil Mhuire about their feelings and worries. Adults will listen to and support every child.
- All children including bystanders can report any bullying behaviour to any adult at Scoil Mhuire
Note: These Anti-Bullying statements are taught to all pupils. They are discussed at assembly once a term. They are published in the school journal each year and pupils and parents must sign off on them as part of Scoil Mhuire’s Behavioural Policy. They will be displayed on posters throughout the school.
6. Our Procedures Re Bullying Behaviour
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:Since the failure to report bullying can lead to a continuation or a deterioration of bullying, the school and parents encourage children to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour. This can be with the class teacher, the teacher on yard duty at the time, Special Needs Assistants, and the principal or with parents. This is a “telling school” as defined in the Stay Safe Programme. Children will therefore be constantly assured that their reports of bullying either for themselves or peers will be treated with sensitivity.
- An Incident of bullying behaviour will be noted and recorded by the class teacher or the teacher on duty/yard duty and noted on the child’s profile on the Aladdin school data system.
- The Incident will be investigated – what, who, when, where, why?
- An effort will be made to resolve any issues and to restore as far as practicable, the relationships.
- The teacher will exercise professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and as to how it can be resolved.
- Parents and pupils are required to cooperate with any investigation.
- Serious incidents, or a recurring incident of bullying behaviour which has in the opinion of a teacher not been adequately or appropriately addressed within 20 school days will be recorded on the DES template and shall be reported to the principal / deputy principal. The teacher will also use the DES recording template where he/she considers the bullying behaviour to constitute serious misconduct.
- If a group is involved, they will be met both individually and as a group. Each member will be asked for his/her account of what happened to ensure that everyone is clear about what everyone else has said. This account will be recorded. (Restorative Practice)
- Pupils who are not directly involved can also provide very useful information in this way, and will be expected to assist the investigation.Children should understand there are no innocent bystanders where bullying is concerned.
- The alleged “bully” will be asked to reflect on his/her behaviour and its consequences for himself/herself and for the person who is the victim. (Restorative Practice)
- Parents will be made aware of this behaviour and requested to come and discuss it with the teacher/principal with a view to solving the problem. If necessary the aggressor will be asked to sign an undertaking that “this behaviour will not reoccur.”
- The situation will continue to be monitored to ensure that the problem has been resolved. Actions taken will be recorded in a template for recording anti- bullying behaviour.Records will be reviewed and analysed.
- The code of behaviour will be invoked in circumstances where it is deemed prudent by the relevant teacher and school principal.
- If a case remains unresolved the matter will be referred to the school’s Board of Management. The Board will also be briefed in relation to the number, if any, of templates which have been completed.
- 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.
7. The School’s Programme of Support
The school’s Programme of Support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:
- Teaching the Shield Statements.
- Circle time.
- Our support teachers will facilitate one-to-one self-esteem building between a teacher and the pupil if needed.Work with small groups will also be facilitated.
- Through the means of curricular and extracurricular activities to develop positive self worth.
- Developing pupil’s awareness of identity-based bullying and in particular trans-phobic bullying, i.e. the “Growing Up” lesson in SPHE. Particular account will also be taken of the important role pupils with Special Educational Needs have to play.
- Choirs, concerts and class plays will be performed to enhance the children’s self-esteem.
- Football training and matches.
- Green schools and student council.
- Rainbows club.
8. Cyber Bullying
Cyber bullying includes (but is not limited to) communicating via electronic means with the objective of causing hurt, fear, embarrassment, humiliation, alarm and/or distress to one or more persons.
Cyber bullying includes the use of mobile phones and the internet with the objective of upsetting someone.
It may take the form of general insults or impersonation, defamation or prejudice‑based bullying.
Unlike other forms of bullying a once-off posting can constitute bullying.
While this policy addresses issues related to cyber bullying of students (i.e. situations in which one or more students are the victim[s]
of bullying), the policy also applies to teaching and other school staff.
This policy applies to activities and events that take place:
- During school time (including break times)
- Going to and from school
- School tours/trips
- Extra-curricular activities
Scoil Mhuire reserves the right to take action against bullying perpetrated outside the school which spills over into the school.
Key Measures re Cyber Bullying
- The Anti-Bullying Coordinator will act as a Cyber-Safety Officer to oversee the practices and procedures outlined in this policy and monitor their effectiveness.
- Staff will be trained to identify signs of cyber bullying and will be helped to keep informed about the technologies that children commonly use.
- A code of advice will be developed, periodically reviewed, and communicated to help students protect themselves from being involved in bullying (as perpetrator or as victim) and to advise them on reporting any incidents.
- Students will be informed about cyber bullying in the course of their education at the school.
- Gardaí will continue to visit the school once a year to talk about cyber bullying.
- Teachers will dedicate a standalone lesson to deal with the issue of cyber bullying.
- Parents will on an annual basis be invited to a talk on bullying to include cyber bullying.
- Students and staff are expected to comply with the school’s policy on the use of computers in the School. (Acceptable user policy)
- Parents will be provided with information and advice on cyber bullying.
- Parents and students are advised that it is illegal for a child under 13 to register with and use Facebook.
- Teachers will investigate record and report all incidents of cyber bullying.
- Scoil Mhuire endeavours to block access to inappropriate web sites, using firewalls, antivirus protection and filtering systems and no pupil is allowed to work on the Internet in the Computer Room, or any other location within the school which may from time to time be used for such work, without a member of staff present.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. Date This Policy Was Adopted
This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on:
12. Availability of This Policy
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.
13. Review of This Policy
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.
Signed: ____________________ Signed: ___________________________
(Chairperson of Board of Management) (Principal)
Date: ______________________ Date: ____________________________
Appendix (1): Template for Recording Bullying Behaviour
1. Name of pupil being bullied and class group
Name: ___________________________ Class: ______________________________
2. Name(s) and class(es) of pupil(s) engaged in bullying behaviour
3. Source of bullying concern/report 4. Location of incidents
Tick Relevant Box(es) (Tick relevant box)(es)
5. Name of person(s) who reported the bullying concern
6. Type of Bullying Behaviour (tick relevant box[es])*
|Physical Aggression||Cyber bullying|
|Damage to property||Intimidation|
|Isolation / Exclusion||Malicious Gossip|
|Name Calling||Other (Specify)|
7. Where behaviour is regarded as identity-based bullying, indicate the relevant category
|Homophobic||Disability /SEN related||Racist||Membership of Traveller community||Other (Specify)|
8. Brief Description of bullying behaviour and its impact
9. Details of action taken
Signed: _________________________ (Relevant Teacher) Date: ___________________
Date Submitted to Principal/ Deputy Principal: _____________________________
Appendix (2): How You Can Support Your Child
(A) Support Re Cyber Bullying
(B) Support Re Other Types of Bullying
(A) Support Re Cyber Bullying
We endorse the advice given from the Irish ‘Sticks and Stones’ Anti-Bullying Programme. A representative, Patricia Kennedy, wrote the following words in the Irish Daily Mail on October 31, 2012:
“Cyberbullying is NOT 24/7; it’s only 24/7 if a child is allowed access to their phone or the internet. Don’t let your own ignorance get in the way of common sense. A simple rule is ‘no phones after bedtime.’ Have a drawer in the kitchen that all phones are left in.
… Try turning off the wifi when you are going to bed to make sure there are no 3am online arguments. The anti-bullying initiative I represent, Sticks and Stones, work with children from all backgrounds, from designated disadvantaged schools to fee-paying schools, and we are constantly surprised at the level of innocence that most children have in relation to the ‘friends’ they make online.
They don’t think there are any dangers involved in chatting with strangers online, and they don’t think there are any repercussions involved for them regarding what they post.
… In our anti-bullying workshops, children tell us one of the reasons they don’t ‘tell’ about bullying is that parents ‘overreact’. Don’t be that parent.
If your child tells you that they are being bullied — don’t lose your temper; above all don’t threaten to take their phone or internet access away — you’re just guaranteeing they’ll never tell you anything again.
Remain calm and ask questions — who, what, why, where, when. Get the facts, write it down, keep the text/phone messages or take a screen shot from the computer so you are informed when you approach the school, internet or phone provider, or gardaí.
Talk to your children; let them know they can talk to you; keep the channels of communication open.”
And we endorse the advice given by the USA’s Federal Department of Health:
“Be Aware of What Your Kids are Doing Online
Talk with your kids about cyberbullying and other online issues regularly.
Know the sites your kids visit and their online activities. Ask where they’re going, what they’re doing, and who they’re doing it with.
Tell your kids that as a responsible parent you may review their online communications if you think there is reason for concern. Installing parental control filtering software or monitoring programs are one option for monitoring your child’s online behaviour, but do not rely solely on these tools.
Have a sense of what they do online and in texts. Learn about the sites they like. Try out the devices they use.
Ask for their passwords, but tell them you’ll only use them in case of emergency.
Ask to “friend” or “follow” your kids on social media sites or ask another trusted adult to do so.
Encourage your kids to tell you immediately if they, or someone they know, is being cyberbullied. Explain that you will not take away their computers or mobile phones if they confide in you about a problem they are having.
Establish Rules about Technology Use
Establish rules about appropriate use of computers, mobile phones, and other technology. For example, be clear about what sites they can visit and what they are permitted to do when they’re online. Show them how to be safe online.
Help them be smart about what they post or say. Tell them not to share anything that could hurt or embarrass themselves or others. Once something is posted, it is out of their control whether someone else will forward it.
Encourage kids to think about who they want to see the information and pictures they post online. Should complete strangers see it? Real friends only? Friends of friends? Think about how people who aren’t friends could use it.
Tell kids to keep their passwords safe and not share them with friends. Sharing passwords can compromise their control over their online identities and activities.”
We encourage you to also look at links for parents on our school website on the Cyber Bullying page.
(B) Support Re Other Types of Bullying
Teaching a child to say “NO” in a good assertive tone of voice will help deal with many situations. A child’s self image and body language may send out messages to potential bullies.
Parents should approach their child’s teacher by appointment if the bullying is school related. It is important for you to understand that bullying in school can be difficult for teachers to detect because of the large numbers of children involved. Teachers will appreciate bullying being brought to light. School bullying requires that parents and teachers work together for a resolution.
Sometimes parental advice to a child is to “hit back” at the bully if the abuse is physical. This is not always realistic as it requires a huge amount of courage and indeed sometimes makes the situation worse.
Children should not be encouraged to engage in violent behaviour. Teaching children to be more assertive and to tell is far more positive and effective.
It is important to be realistic; it will not be possible for a single child to assert his/her rights if attacked by a group. Children should be advised to get away and tell in situations such as this.
Keep an account of incidents to help you assess how serious the problem is. Many children with a little help overcome this problem very quickly.
What If Your Child Is Bullying?
1. Don’t panic. This may be a temporary response to something else in the child’s life e.g. a new baby, a death in the family, a difficult home problem etc. Give your child an opportunity to talk about anything that could be upsetting him/her.
2. Don’t punish bullying by being a bully yourself. Hitting and verbal attack will make the situation worse. Talk to your child and try to find out if there is a problem. Explain how the victim felt. Try to get the child to understand the victim’s point of view. This would need to be done over time.
3. Bullies often suffer low self esteem. Use every opportunity you can to praise good, considerate, helpful behaviour. Don’t only look for negatives.
4. Talk to your child’s teacher and find out more about your child’s school behaviour. Enlist the teacher’s help in dealing with this. It is important that you both take the same approach.
5. If the situation is serious you may need to ask the school or G.P. to refer your child to the child guidance clinic for help.
APPENDIX (3): Types of Behaviour Involved in Cyber Bullying
These guidelines provide assistance in identifying and describing the types of behaviour involved in cyber bullying. The means of cyber bullying are constantly changing, and the following list of types of bullying behaviour can be expanded in light of the experience of the school community:
Types of Behaviour in Cyber Bullying…
- Hate Sites
- Encouraging other people to join the bullying by publishing someone’s
personal details or linking to their social network page.
- Abusive messages.
- Transmitting abusive and/or threatening messages.
- Chat rooms and discussion forums.
- Posting cruel and/or or abusive comments about someone.
- Mobile Phones
- Sending humiliating and abusive video messages or photographic images messages.
- Making silent or abusive phone calls.
- Sending abusive text messages.
- Interactive gaming.
- Locking victims out of games.
- Spreading false rumours about someone.
- Hacking into someone’s account.
- Sending viruses.
- Sending hacking programs to another person.
- Unauthorised interference with a computer device.
- Abusing Personal Information
- Transmitting personal photos, videos emails.
- Blogs Posting blogs where others could see them without the owner of the blog’s permission.