1. 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 (BOM) of St. Brigid’s C. of I. N.S. has adopted the following anti-bullying policy within the framework of the school’s overall code of behaviour. The policy fully complies with the requirements of the Anti -bullying Procedures for Primary and Post -Primary Schools which were published in September 2013
2. The BOM 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 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; and promotes respectful relationships across the whole 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 and 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, investigating and follow up of bullying behaviour( including use of established intervention strategies); and
- Ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti- bullying policy
3. In accordance with the Anti- bullying Procedures for Primary and Post -Primary Schools bullying is defined as 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.
- Identity based bullying such as homophobic bullying, racist bullying, bullying based on a person’s membership of the travelling 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 will be dealt with as 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.
4. The relevant teachers for investigating and dealing with bullying are:
- the class teachers
- the Principal
- the Deputy Principal
5. The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying) will be as follows:
St. Brigid’s is a “telling” school and this message will be reinforced in class through “circle time”
- Teachers should repeatedly reinforce the message that if anyone is the victim of bullying behaviour, they should not retaliate in any way, but they should tell an adult. Victims should be reassured that if they tell, something will be done about the bullying in a safe manner and all reported incidents will be dealt with.
- Class lessons to be provided to enable pupils “how to tell” ( telling protocol)
- Bystanders can be the key to resolving bullying and if anyone witnesses bullying behaviour, they should always tell a teacher. This is not telling tales but a means of protecting victims.
- Class teachers will teach age appropriate programmes through SPHE curriculum e.g. Stay Safe and Walk Tall
- Children will be made aware of the internet safety through Web Wise programme
- R.E. Follow Me programme
- Class rules – class charter
- Annual “Happy at school” day
- Self- esteem lessons from Junior Infants onwards
- Community garda to talk to each class
- Appropriate guest speaker to talk to parents and children
- Talks with parents about IT safety, Facebook etc.
- Talks with experts followed up by classroom work with 3rd to 6th Class
- To focus on anti- bullying during one school assembly/church service during year
- Star of the week to encourage good behaviour and acts of kindness
- Rewards in class for good character traits
- Encouraging students to look out for each other and to be responsible for their own behaviour.
- All teachers are required to be vigilant on yard duty-
- Each class to have a set of class rules which are compliment the school’s Code of Behaviour.
- Ensure supervision at all times when pupils can access the internet.
- Incidents are dealt with on a daily basis as they occur and resolved on the spot
6. The school’s procedure for investigation, follow up and recording of bullying behaviour and the established intervention strategies used by the school for dealing with cases of bullying are as follows:
All reports of bullying must be dealt with initially by the class teacher.
- When a pupil tells a teacher s/he is being bullied, it is important to gather all of the facts from both sides (What, where, when, who, why?). This will involve an interview with the alleged bully using template in Appendices.
- In investigating and dealing with bullying, the teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best to resolve the situation.
- The aim for the class teacher in investigating and dealing with bullying is to resolve any issues and to restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved (rather than to apportion blame).
- Non- teaching staff must report any incidents of alleged bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them to the relevant class teacher.
- The class teacher should take calm, unemotional, problem-solving approach.
- All sides are listened to separately and notes are taken.
- The notes are brief, factual and should be void of emotional, or judgemental language.
- Instances are investigated outside the classroom to avoid public humiliations.
- All interviews should be conducted with sensitivity and with due regards to the rights of all pupils concerned. Pupils who are not directly involved can also provide very useful information in this way.
- Where possible, a witness is present.
- It is explained to the alleged bully how hurtful their behaviour is and attempts are made to encourage them to empathise with the alleged victim.
Parents and pupils are required to co-operate with any investigations and assist the school in resolving any issues and restoring, as far as practicable, the relationships of the parties involved as quickly as possible.
Information spoken about should only become available on a need to know basis.
Recording of incidents: All incidents will be logged by class teacher and incidents which have not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days will be recorded by the class teacher on the recording template as in Appendix 3 (Anti bullying Procedures for Primary and Post -Primary Schools). This template will be completed in full and a copy given to the Deputy Principal and Principal. At least once every school term the Principal will provide a report to the BOM setting out the overall number of bullying cases reported by means of this template and confirmation that all cases are being dealt with in accordance with procedure.
7. The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:
- Victims are reassured from the outset that they are not to blame.
- Strategies for restoring self-esteem are explored between teacher and parents/guardians.
- Where deemed necessary, the child in consultation with parents may be referred for counselling.
- Staged approach- class support, school support ( as per Continuum – Behavioural, Emotional and Social difficulties- NEPS).
- The parents of the pupils concerned will be advised to contact the local Gardaí if appropriate.
- Where deemed necessary, the child in consultation with parents may be referred for counselling. They may need to learn other ways of meeting their needs without violating the rights of others. Empathy awareness needs to be developed.
- Clinical referral and assessment may be necessary.
- Staged approach – class support, school support (as per Continuum-Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties– NEPS)
- In certain cases too it may be necessary to invite assistance from formal agencies such as Gardai,(J.L.O) Health Board,
- The school will constantly remind parents of the dangers of “cyber- bullying” as can happen with the use of social networking sites and mobile phones. We also direct their attention to the school’s internet Acceptable Use Policy (AUP).
The school cannot be responsible for disagreements between pupils that happen outside the school grounds but will make reasonable efforts to co-operate with parents in assisting them to resolve the issues.
8. Supervision and Monitoring of pupils:
The BOM 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.
9. Prevention of Harassment:
The BOM confirms that the school will, in accordance with its obligations under equality legislation, take all such steps that are reasonably practical 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 Travelling community.
10. This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on 19th May 2014
11. This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website and provided to the Parent’s Association. A copy of the policy will be made available to the Department and patron if requested.
12 This policy and its implementation will be reviewed by the BOM 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 Parent’s association. A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and to the Department.
Chairperson – Rev’d Ian Gallagher
Principal – Ann Andrews
19th May 2014