Antibullying Policy

Anti-Bullying Policy

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 of Arklow CBS 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.

3. 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, 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.

4. The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying is (are) as follows::

Class Tutor

Form Master

Subject Teacher

Deputy Principal

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 that will be used by the school are as follows:

A school wide approach to the fostering of respect for all members of the school community. The promotion of the value of diversity to address issues of prejudice and stereotyping, and highlight the unacceptability of bullying behaviour.

  • The fostering and enhancing of the self-esteem of all our pupils through both curricular and extracurricular activities. Pupils will be provided with opportunities to develop a positive sense of self -worth through formal and informal interactions.
  • Whole staff professional development on bullying to ensure that all staff develops an awareness of what bullying is, how it impacts on pupils' lives and the need to respond to it-prevention and intervention.
  • Professional development with specific focus on the training of the relevant teacher(s)
  • School wide awareness raising and training on all aspects of bullying, to include pupils, parent(s)/guardian(s) and the wider school community.
  • Supervision and monitoring of classrooms, corridors, school grounds, school tours and extracurricular activities. Non-teaching and ancillary staff will be encouraged to be vigilant and report issues to relevant teachers. Supervision will also apply to monitoring student use of communication technology within the school.
  • Involvement of the student council in contributing to a safe school environment e.g. Buddy system mentoring and other student support activities that can help to support pupils and encourage a culture of peer respect and support.
  • Development and promotion of an Anti-Bullying code for the school is included in students journals and displayed publicly in classrooms and in common areas of the school.
  • The school's anti-bullying policy is discussed with pupils and all parent(s)/guardian(s)s are given a  copy as part of the Code of Behaviour of the school.
  • The implementation of regular (e.g. per year/per term/per month/per week) whole school awareness measures e.g. a dedicated notice board in the school and classrooms on the promotion of friendship, and bullying prevention; annual Friendship Week and parent(s)/guardian(s) seminars; annual or term student surveys; regular school or year group assemblies by principal, deputy principal, year heads etc.
  • Encourage a culture of telling, with particular emphasis on the importance of bystanders. 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.
  • Ensuring that pupils know who to tell and how to tell, e.g.:          

-             Direct approach to teacher at an appropriate time, for example after class. Hand note up with homework.

-             Get a parent(s)/guardian(s) or friend to tell on your behalf.

-             Make a phone call to the school or to a trusted teacher in the school.

-             Administer a confidential questionnaire once a term to all pupils.

-             Ensure bystanders understand the importance of telling if they witness or know that bullying is taking place.

·            Identify clear protocols to encourage parent(s)/guardian(s) to approach the school if they suspect that their child is being bullied. The protocol should be developed in consultation with parents.

·            The development of an Acceptable Use Policy in the school to include the necessary steps to ensure that the access to technology within the school is strictly monitored, as is the pupils' use of mobile phones.

Implementation of curricula

·            The full implementation of the SPHE and CSPE curricula and the RSE modules.

·            Continuous Professional Development for staff in delivering these programmes.

·            School wide delivery of lessons on bullying from evidence based programmes: e.g. Cool School Lessons, #UP2US, Stay ,  On My Own Two Feet.

·            School wide delivery of lessons on:

Relational aggression (Cool School Programme: A Friend in Deed),

Cyber Bullying (#UP2US, Be Safe-Be Web wise, Think Before you Click, Let's Fight it Together), Homophobic and Transphobic Bullying (Growing up LGBT, Stand Up Programme, The Trust pack)

Diversity and Interculturalism. The school should list every resource related to the SPHE curriculum, and make a list of supports.

·            Delivery of the Garda SPHE Programmes  at  post- primary level. These lessons, delivered by Community Gardai, cover issues around personal safety and cyber-bullying

·            The school will specifically consider the additional needs of SEN pupils with regard to programme implementation and the development of skills and strategies to enable all pupils to respond appropriately.

·            The school will implement the advice in "Sexual Orientation advice for schools".

Links to other policies

List school policies, practices and activities that are particularly relevant to bullying, e.g.
Code of Behaviour,

Child Protections policy,

Acceptable Use policy

SPHE & CSPE

Supervision of pupils

Attendance

Sporting activities

6. 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:

The primary aim 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);

The school's procedures must be consistent with the following approach. Every effort will be made to ensure that all involved (including pupils, parent(s)/guardian(s)) under­stand this approach from the outset.

Reporting bullying behaviour

•       Any pupil or parent(s)/guardian(s) may bring a bullying incident to any teacher in the school.

•       All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying, must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher.  

•       Teaching and non-teaching staff such as secretaries, special needs assistants (SNAs), bus es­corts, caretakers, cleaners must report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher.

Investigating and dealing with incidents: Style of approach

•       In investigating and dealing with bullying, the relevant teacher will exercise his/her profes­sional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best the situation might be resolved;

•       Parent(s)/guardian(s) 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;

•       Teachers should take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach.

•       Where possible incidents should be investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved;

•       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;

•      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;                                                                                                           

•        If a group is involved, each member should be interviewed individually at first. Thereafter, all those involved should be met as a group. At the group meeting, each member should be asked for his/her account of what happened to ensure that everyone in the group is clear about each other's statements;

•        No such thing “innocent bystander”

•        Cool school investigation and resolving Bullies

•        Each member of a group should be supported through the possible pressures that may face them from the other members of the group after the interview by the teacher;

It may also be appropriate or helpful to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident(s)

•                In cases where it has been determined by the relevant teacher that bullying behaviour has occurred, the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the parties involved should be contacted at an early stage to inform them of the matter and explain the actions being taken. The school should give parent(s)/guardian(s) an opportunity of discussing ways in which they can reinforce or support the actions being taken by the school and the supports provided to the pupils;

•      Where the relevant teacher has determined that a pupil has been engaged in bullying  be­haviour, it should be made clear to him how he is in breach of the school's anti-bullying policy and efforts should be made to try to get him to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied;

•      It must also be made clear to all involved (each set of pupils and parent(s)/guardian(s)) that in any situation where disciplinary sanctions are required, this is a private matter between the pupil being disciplined, his parent(s)/guardian(s) and the school.

Follow up and recording

•          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 relationships between the parties have been restored as far as is practicable;
- Any feedback received from the parties involved, their parent(s)/guardian(s)s or the school Principal or Deputy Principal

•               Follow-up meetings with the relevant parties involved should 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.

•       Where a parent(s)/guardian(s) is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, the parent(s)/guardian(s) must be referred, as appro­priate, to the school's complaints procedures.

•       In the event that a parent(s)/guardian(s) has exhausted the school's complaints procedures and is still not satisfied, the school must advise the parent(s)/guardian(s) of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Pupils.

Recording of bullying behaviour

It is imperative that all recording of bullying incidents must be done in an objective and factual man­ner.  The school's procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour are as follows: 

Informal- pre-determination that bullying has occurred

•       All staff must keep a written record of any incidents witnessed by them or notified to them. All incidents must be reported to the relevant teacher

•       While all reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher, the relevant teacher must keep a written record of the reports, the actions taken and any discussions with those involved regarding same

•       The relevant teacher must inform the principal of all incidents being investigated.

Informal-determination that bullying has occurred

•       If it is established by the relevant teacher that bullying has occurred, the relevant
teacher must 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.

•       An anti bullying pledge must be signed by the person involved in the bullying behaviour, parents will be asked to sign the pledge if the person involved has signed a previous pledge.

•       Parents will be informed about the incident

•       The relevant teacher will store all records and the anti-bullying pledge in the anti-bullying folder for the relevant year.

Formal-Appendix 3 (From DES Procedures)

The relevant teacher must use the recording template at Appendix 3 to record the bullying be­haviour in the following circumstances:

a)   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

b)    The following incidents must be recorded and reported immediately to the Principal or Deputy Prin­cipal:

·         Physical Assault

·         Extortion

·         Intimidation

When the recording template is used, it must be retained by the relevant teacher in question and a copy maintained by the principal in his office.

Established intervention strategies

•       Teacher interviews with all pupils

•        Negotiating agreements between pupils and following these up by monitoring progress. This can be on an informal basis or implemented through a more structured mediation process

•       Working with parent(s)/guardian(s)s to support school interventions

•       No Blame Approach

•       Circle Time

•       Restorative interviews

•       Restorative conferencing

•       Implementing sociogram questionnaires

•       Peer mediation where suitable training has been given

 7. The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows :

·         Closer monitoring and communication with all parties involved

·         In-house counselling

·         Referral to external counselling services available in the area

·         Referral to NEPS

·         Referral to other family based agency such as Spring Board, I.S.P.C.C.

·         Referral to HSE Children and Family Support Services

·         Referral to Gardai

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on 27th May 2014.

11. 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 requested.

12. 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: James Reynolds  (Chairperson of Board of Management)    Date: 27th May 2014

Signed: Peter Somers   (Principal)    Date: 27th May 2014     

Date of next review: To be confirmed