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Anti-Bullying

(Please click here to see a pdf version of the Anti-Bullying Policy 2016/2017)

Anti-Bullying Policy 2016/2017

  • Introduction

 

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 Lusk 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.

(http://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/Anti-Bullying-Procedures-for-Primary-and-Post-Primary-Schools.pdf ).

 

  • Principles of Best Practise

 

 

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 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.
  • Definition

 

 

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, transphobic bullying, racist bullying, bullying based on a person’s membership of a minority group/culture (eg 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.

(http://www.luskns.ie/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Behaviour-Policy.pdf )

 

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.

 

Additional information on different types of bullying is set out in Section 2 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools.

(http://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/Anti-Bullying-Procedures-for-Primary-and-Post-Primary-Schools.pdf )

 

  • Relevant Teacher for Investigation and Dealing with Bullying

 

 

The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying is the child’s class teacher (or class teachers if children from different classes are involved).   All teachers will follow school procedures for investigating and dealing with bullying behaviour as laid out in section six of this policy.  Where the continuum of support, as per the school behaviour policy, has been put in place to resolve the issue and the matter remains unresolved the class teacher(s) will be supported by the post holder with responsibility for behaviour in those classes to deal with the matter.  Where the post holder has become involved the Principal will be informed of the issue and steps taken to date in order that he/she can assist in the matter.

 

  1. Education and Prevention Strategies

 

The education and prevention strategies for all bullying as defined in section 3, will include the following strategies:

 

5(a) Prevention strategies – Promotion of a school ethos and climate that respects each individual and respects diversity (Use of school assembly for reinforcement – Key phrase “Stop I don’t like that!)

-promotion of pupil’s self-esteem and a sense of their own goodness and power when they face difficult situations through delivery of the “Myself” and the “Myself and Others” strand units of the Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) curriculum.

-Development of a positive school culture (see appendix 2)

-Incredible Years Programme – implemented throughout the school as the cornerstone of our Behaviour Policy

-Anti-Bullying Week – key is to help children identify correctly what bullying behaviour is and how to report it if they are either a victim or bystander. (1st or 2nd school week in October each school year – use of anti-bullying campaign awareness strategies and ISPCC resources throughout the week – see appendix 5)

-Pupil Awareness days – with involvement of Student Council during anti-bullying week, specific tips re cyber protection.

-Staff Awareness Days – Focus on problem solving approach, what?, when?, who?, where? (as part of annual policy review at staff meeting in 1st term each year)

-Parental Education programme eg info to parents via newsletter, Information Evenings, information sheets to explain school policy & assist parents identify bullying correctly

-Open to investigating and implementing new initiatives eg yard buddies

-Cyberbullying prevention – the school ensures filtering systems on school computers ie firewalls in place to block social media sites, supervises computer classes in the computer room, teaches wise use of the web through the GET WITH IT programme and the webwise programme (please see Acceptable Use Policy).

 

5(b) Education Strategies – Delivery of the “Myself” and the “Myself and Others” strand units of the Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) curriculum to include coverage of identity based bullying, homophobic or transphobic bullying, taught in an age appropriate and developmentally appropriate way

-Delivery of the “Stay Safe” programme within the SPHE curriculum, which aims to teach pupils skills and strategies to enable them to respond safely to any dangerous, upsetting or abusive situations. (Stay Safe programme is timetabled to be taught each February in every class. Focus on key message throughout programme “Say No. Get Away.  Tell Someone you Trust.  Keep Telling.”

-GET WITH IT and Webwise – teaching of internet safety programmes for pupils

– Use of strand one of anti-bullying campaign during anti-bullying week to enable children recognise, reject and report bullying of themselves and others when they experience it or see it.

– Anti-bullying week to include special assembly once a year highlighting awareness and rejection of bullying

– Use of resources from ISPCC shield campaign during anti-bullying week

-Delivering themes from the Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) programme within the SPHE curriculum, which promote an understanding of and a healthy attitude to relationships. (Taught each May in each class)

-Through assembly and Incredible Years teach self-sufficiency and climate of mutual respect

-Drama – role plays among classes – displaying aspects of bullying the child may not realise/have identified

 

  • Procedures for School Intervention and Recording of 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:

 

6(a) Procedures for Investigation of Reports/Incidents

In investigating and dealing with bullying, teachers exercise professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred. Whenever they receive a report of unwanted negative behaviour or bullying from a child, member of staff or parent, or are suspicious that bullying may be taking place they will return to the definition of bullying and consider the following –

Is the Behaviour unwanted negative behaviour?

Is it verbal, psychological/relational or physical in nature?

Has it been conducted by an individual or group against another person (or persons)?

Has it been repeated over time?

 

  1. All reports of bullying will be investigated and dealt with by the class teachers of the children involved.       In that way pupils will gain confidence in ‘telling’. It will be made clear to all pupils that when they report incidents of bullying they are not telling tales but are acting responsibly.
  2. Non-teaching staff (SNA’s, secretaries, caretakers, cleaners) will take part in activities during anti-bullying week and be encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them to the Principal who will pass the information to the relevant teacher.
  3. Teachers will take a calm, unemotional, problem-solving approach to dealing with alleged incidents of bullying.
  1. Incidents will generally be investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved
  2. Interviews will be conducted with sensitivity and with due regard to the rights of all pupils concerned.
  3. In investigating incidents teachers will seek to answer questions of what, where, when and who in a calm manner, setting an example of dealing effectively with conflict in a non-aggressive manner.
  4. If a group is involved each member will be interviewed individually.
  5. Thereafter all those involved may be met in a group, if deemed safe and appropriate. At the group meeting, each member will be asked for his/her account of what happened to ensure that everyone in the group is clear about each other’s statements
  6. Where it is deemed helpful, those involved might be asked to write down their account of the incident.6(b) Procedures for Intervention and Follow Up
  1. Where the teacher determines that repeated unwanted negative behaviour, ie bullying behaviour, has occurred the teacher will note the incident in their teacher notes/behaviour log to ensure the bullying behaviour will be closely monitored.
  2. In such cases, where bullying behaviour has been determined:
  1. The parents of the parties involved will be contacted to inform them of the matter and to explain the actions being taken as per school policy.
  2. The school will give parents the opportunity to discuss ways in which they can support the actions being taken by the school to assist their child.
  3. It will be made clear that in any situation where disciplinary actions are required this is a private matter between the pupil being disciplined, their parents and the school.
  4. The teacher will advise the pupil how they are in breach of the anti-bullying policy and will try to get him/her to see the issue from the perspective of the pupil being bullied.
  5. Sanctions will be imposed in line with Lusk National Schools Code of Behaviour.
  6. The teacher will arrange a targeted intervention that involves all children involved. It may involve a targeted behaviour plan being implemented as per the Continuum of support. It may also involve pupils making a commitment to a behaviour contract together. It will use evidence based conflict resolution approaches (see appendix 6). The focus of this work is to restore and improve the broken relationships.
  7. Follow up meetings will be arranged with the parties involved to review the issue and possibly bring the children together at a later date if all parties are agreeable. The teacher will keep the post holder responsible for Behaviour Support in their class informed of the progress being made on the issue and may seek the support/involvement of the post holder in working with the children to address the issue.
  1. In cases where the teacher considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 days of the initial determination that bullying behaviour has occurred, this will be recorded by the relevant teacher in the Departmental recording template (see appendix 3). The teacher and post holder involved will continue to respond to the issue as per the continuum of behavioural support outlined in the school Behaviour Policy. When considering whether bullying has been adequately addressed the teacher should consider-
  1. Has bullying behaviour ceased?
  2. Have the relationships between the parties been restored as far as is practicable?
  3. What feedback has been received from parties involved, the children, parents, Principal/Deputy Principal
  1. Where a parent is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with the procedures above, the parent will be referred to the schools complaints procedure as per our Parent/Teacher Communication Policy. To access this policy click here.(see www.luskns.ie)
  2. Where a parent exhausts the school’s complaints procedure and remains unsatisfied, the school will advise the parents of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.6(c) Procedures for Recording Bullying Behaviour
  1. While all reports of bullying will be investigated by the relevant teacher, teachers will use their professional judgement, informed by DES guidelines, in relation to the records to be kept of these reports, the actions taken and any discussions with those involved regarding the issue.
  2. Where the teacher has a reasonable concern that repeated unwanted negative behaviour, ie bullying, has occurred the teacher will keep appropriate written records in their teachers journal or behaviour log which will assist his/her efforts to resolve the issues and restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved.
  3. In cases where the teacher judges that bullying behaviour has occurred and has not been adequately addressed within 20 days, the teacher will record the matter in the Department record form (see appendix 5)
  4. These records will form the basis of Principals reports presented at each Board meeting.

 

 

  • The Schools programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying

 

 is as follows:

 

7.a Supports for pupils affected by bullying include:

  1. Foster a school culture that respects all pupils
  1. Indicate clearly that bullying is not the fault of the targeted pupil through the anti-bullying campaign awareness raising programme
  2. Acknowledge that pupils affected by bullying have been offended against and that the school community will support them restore their sense of self (see appendix 1)
  3. help build pupil esteem by encouraging them to become involved in activities that help develop friendships and social skills (eg participation in group work in class or extra-curricular group or team activities during or after school)
  4. Implementing a ‘buddy system’ in the school.
  5. Use of evidence based conflict resolution steps (see appendix 1 & 6)
  6. Students may benefit from participation in the Friends Programme which aims to increase self-confidence and reduce anxiety.

 

7.b Supports for pupils involved in Bullying Behaviour include

 

  1. Make clear through anti-bullying campaign awareness building strand that the aim of any supports put in place should be reform rather than blame.
  2. Development of an Individual Behaviour Plans to include learning strategies to help the child identify bullying behaviour, teach ways of meeting personal needs without violating the rights of others and teach skills to ensure such behaviour is not continued.
  3. Use of evidence based conflict resolution strategies such as strategies from the Incredible Years Programme, SALT programme & resources such as The Resolving Books – Fiona McAuslan (see appendix 1 & 6)
  4. help build pupil esteem by encouraging them to become involved in activities that help develop friendships and social skills (eg participation in group work in class or extra-curricular group or team activities during or after school)
  5. If following a period of monitoring and intervention behaviour persists a referral to NEPS or other community pyschological services may be required.

 

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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 _______________ (date)

 

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.

 

 

Signed __________________________      Signed ____________________________

(Chairperson of Board of Management        Principal

 

Date: ________________________

 

 

Date of next review: _________________