Anti-bullying

CASHEL COMMUNITY  SCHOOL

Anti-Bullying Policy

  1. In accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the code of behaviour guidelines issued by the N E W B, the Board of Management of Cashel Community 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.
  2. 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; and
  • 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; 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, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies); and
  • 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 and individual or group against another person (or persons) and which is repeated over time.

The following types of bullying 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.

Relevant teachers for dealing with bullying.

The whole school community is committed to best practices in preventing and tackling bullying behaviour.   The relevant teachers for investigating and dealing with bullying are:

  1.  Year Head,   2)   Deputy Principal,     3) Principal

The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying.

(i)            The education and prevention strategies that will be used by Cashel Community School are as follows, including strategies in relation to cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying.

(ii)           Cashel Community School will provide pupils with opportunities to develop a positive sense of self-worth and develop programmes to raise awareness and understanding of all forms of bullying.

(iii)          Prevention and any awareness raising measures will focus on educating pupils on appropriate online behaviour, how to stay safe while on-line and also on developing a culture of reporting incidents of online cyber-bullying.

(iv)         In tackling bullying Cashel Community School will take particular account of the needs of pupils with disabilities or with S E N and will take particular attention to key moments, in particular transition from primary to post-primary.

(v)          Cashel Community School will work to raise awareness of bullying so that all members of the school community understand what bullying is and how the school deals with bullying behaviour.   This will be done through a series of measures to include staff days, information nights and written material available through relevant agencies.

(vi)         Teachers in Cashel Community School can influence attitudes to bullying behaviour in a positive manner through a range of curricular initiatives.   A number of curricular programmes are particularly relevant to the prevention of bullying and the promotion of respect for diversity and inclusiveness such as S P H E and R S E.   The school can avail of other social, health and media education programmes to help to address the problem of bullying behaviour in Cashel Community School.

vii.          There is an opportunity within the teaching of all subjects to foster an attitude of respect for all:   to promote the value of diversity; to address prejudice and stereotyping and to highlight the unacceptability of bullying behaviour.   Co-operation, group enterprise and controlling aggression can be promoted through sporting activities, school clubs and societies.

 

Procedures for investigating and dealing with bullying.

School authorities will ensure that the school has clear procedures for investigating and dealing with bullying and that these are set out in the school’s anti-bullying policy.   The school’s procedures will be consistent with the following:

  1. The primary aim for the relevant 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).
  2. In investigating and dealing with bullying, the teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best the situation might be resolved.
  3. All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher.   In that way pupils will gain confidence in “telling”.   This confidence factor is of vital importance.   It should 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.
  4. Non-teaching staff such as secretaries, special needs assistants (SNAs), caretakers, cleaners must be encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher.
  5. Parents and pupils are required to co-operate with any investigation and assist the school in resolving any issues and restoring, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved as quickly as possible.
  6. It is very important that all involved (including each set of pupils and parents) understand the above approach from the outset.
  7. Teachers should take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach when dealing with incidents of alleged bullying reported by pupils, staff or parents.
  8. Incidents are generally best investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved.
  9. All interviews should be conducted with sensitivity and with due regard to the rights of all pupils concerned.   Pupils who are not directly involved can also provide very useful information in this way.
  10. When analysing incidents of bullying behaviour, the relevant teacher should seek answers to questions of what, where, when, who and why.   This should be done in a calm manner, setting an example in dealing effectively with a conflict in a non-aggressive manner.
  11. If a group is involved, each member will be interviewed individually.
  12. Each member of a group will be supported through the possible pressures that they may face from the other members of the group.
  13. It may also be appropriate or helpful to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident (s).
  14. In cases where it has been determined by the relevant teacher that bullying behaviour has occurred, the parents of the parties involved should be contacted at an early stage to inform them of the matter and explain the actions being taken (by reference to the school policy).   The school should give parents an opportunity of discussing ways in which they can reinforce or support the actions taken by the school and the supports for their pupils.
  15. Where the relevant teacher has determined that a pupil has been engaged in bullying behaviour, it should be made clear to him/her how he/she is in breach of the school’s anti-bullying policy and efforts should be made to try to get him/her to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied.
  16. It will also 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 pupils being disciplined, his or her parents and the school.
  17. 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.
  18. In cases where the relevant teacher considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days after he/she has determined that bullying behaviour has occurred, it must be recorded by the relevant teacher in the recording template (Appendix 3).
  19. In determining whether a bullying case has been adequately and appropriately addressed the relevant teacher must, as part of his/her professional judgement, take the following factors into account:
  • Whether the bullying behaviour has ceased.
  • Whether any issues between the parties have been resolved as far as is practicable.
  • Whether the relationship between the parties have been restored as far as is practicable; and
  • Any feedback received from the parties involved, their parents or the school Principal or Deputy Principal.
  1. 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 procures.
  2. 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.

Procedures for recording bullying behaviour.

The Board of Management of Cashel Community School will ensure that the school has clear procedures for the formal noting and reporting of bullying behaviour and these must be documented in the school’s anti bullying policy.   All records will be maintained in accordance with relevant data protection legislation.   The school’s procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour will adhere to the following:

  1. While all reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher, the relevant teacher will use his/her professional judgement in relation to the records to be kept of these reports, the actions taken and any discussions with those involved regarding same;
  2. If it is established by the relevant teacher that bullying has occurred, the relevant teacher will keep appropriate written records which will assist his/her efforts to resolve the issues and restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved.
  3. The relevant teacher will use the recording template (Appendix 3) to record the bullying behaviour in the following circumstances:
  1. In cases where he/she considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days after he/she has determined that bullying behaviour occurred; and
  2. Where the school has decided as part of its anti-bullying policy that in certain circumstances bullying behaviour must be recorded and reported immediately to the Principal or Deputy Principal as applicable.

In each of the circumstances at (a) and (b) above, the recording template will be completed in full and retained by the teacher in question and a copy provided to the Principal or Deputy Principal as applicable.   It should also be noted that the timeline for recording bullying behaviour in the recording template does not in any way preclude the relevant teacher from consulting the Principal or Deputy Principal at an earlier stage in relation to a case.

In accordance with procedures for child protection for post primary schools, where the incident is serious and where behaviour is potentially abusive the school will consult and/or seek advice from the HSE Children and Family Social Services and if appropriate may be referred to the Gardaí.

Support for Students.

The programme of support for pupils affected by bullying includes:

  • Support from the guidance counsellors and carers team.
  • Consultation with parents.
  • Referral to outside agencies when appropriate.
  • Informing staff of the needs of students involved and providing advice on appropriate support for the students.
  • Students who are affected by bullying will be encouraged to participate in activities and events which will increase feeling of self-worth.
  • Pupils who engage in bullying behaviour will need counselling to help them learn other ways of meeting their needs without violating the rights of others.
  • Pupils who observe incidents of bullying will be encouraged to discuss them with teachers.

Incidents of bullying will be addressed and dealt with in accordance with the school code of 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.

  1. This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on ­­­­­­­­­­_____________________(date).
  2. This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website (or where none exists, is otherwise readily accessible to parents and pupils on request) and provided to the Parents’ Association (where one exists).   A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the patron if required.
  3. 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 (or where none exists, be otherwise readily accessible to parents and pupils on request) and provided to the Parents’ Association (where one exists).   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:    ______________

 

Date of next review:     __________________________

 

 

 

 

CASHEL COMMUNITY SCHOOL

Summary document (anti-bullying policy)

This document has been prepared to facilitate consideration of the school’s completed Anti-bullying policy.   It summarises each of the thirteen sections therein, it is not intended to be an alternative to the policy.

Section 1

This section explains the background and the basis for the policy.

Section 2

This section details the principles and best practice to which the Board of Management (BoM) is committed.

Section 3

This section includes the definition of bullying, lists several behaviours which are covered by this definition while also identifying behaviour incidents which are not covered by the definition.

Section 4

This section lists the ‘relevant’ teachers who will undertake any investigations into complaints of bullying.

Section 5

This section lists the various education and prevention strategies which will be used by the school to deal with bullying.

Section 6

This section explains the stages of an investigation and how, (if it is determined that bullying has occurred) the school will deal with the matter.

Section 7

This section outlines, (with due regard to the provisions of date protection legislation) the procedures for recording incidents of bullying behaviour.   This section also outlines the circumstances which may result in the designated liaison person (DLP) seeking advice from the HSE and/or reporting a matter to the Gardaí.

 

P.T.O.

Section 8

This section explains the elements of a support programme for students affected by bullying.

Section 9

This is a confirmation that the appropriate policies and practices are in place to prevent and deal with bullying behaviour and to facilitate an early intervention where possible.

Section 10

This is a confirmation that the school will, in accordance with its obligations under equality legislation, take all such steps that are reasonably practicable to prevent harassment of students and staff on any of the nine grounds specified.

Section 11-13

These sections deal with the procedures for the adoption, dissemination and review of the policy.