Policy on Bullying Behaviour.
September 2013 The Board of Management of Scoil Etchen Naofa has formulated this policy in consultation with the teaching staff, non-teaching staff, parents and pupils. The “Counter Bullying Guidelines” of the Department of Education and Science have also been used.
- To create an ethos which encourages children to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour.
- To raise awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behaviour with the school management, teachers, pupils, parents/guardians.
- To ensure comprehensive supervision and monitoring through which all areas of school activity are kept under observation.
- To develop procedures for noting and reporting incidents of bullying behaviour.
- To develop procedures for investigating and dealing with incidents of bullying behaviour.
- To develop a programme of support for those affected by bullying behaviour and for those involved in such incidents. All parties may require counselling in developing and promoting their self-esteem.
- To work with and through local agencies in countering all forms of bullying and anti-social behaviour, e.g. Doctor, District Nurse, Social Worker.
- To evaluate on an ongoing basis the effectiveness of school policy on anti-bullying behaviour.
- To provide strategies to enable staff to act effectively in dealing with bullying behaviour.
- To provide a stable secure environment so that each pupil receives the highest possible standard of education.
- Develop self-esteem in pupils.
2.0 Definition of Bullying.
Bullying is repeated aggression, which is verbal, psychological or physical. An individual or group against others conducts bullying. Isolated incidents of aggressive behaviour, which should not be condoned, cannot be described as bullying. It may manifest itself in many forms such as physical aggression, damage to property, extortion, intimidation, isolation, name-calling and “slagging”. At the centre of our school’s response to bullying is the continued development of a positive school climate, which focuses on respect for the individual. It is an important element of school policy to raise awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behaviour.
3.0 Types of Bullying.
· Physical - Pushing, shoving, punching.
· Damage to property - damage to clothing, schoolbooks, bicycle, etc. Personal property may be defaced, broken, stolen or hidden.
· Extortion – A demand for money, a toy or part of a lunch.
· Intimation – Aggressive body language with the voice being used as a weapon.
· Abusive phone calls/text messaging/e-mails. - Prevalent where adults/children may gain access to the personal contact details of others.
· Cyber Bullying: Children under 13 years of age should not have access to social media and children under 16 years of age should not have unsupervisied access to social media. However, in circumstances where these restrictions are not enforced children may be subject to or engage in cyber bullying.
· Isolation – Prevalent among schoolgirls. A person is deliberately isolated or ignored by some or his entire class group. This may be accompanied by passing around of notes, drawings, whispering of insults or writing on the board about an individual.
· Name-calling – Persistent name-calling directed at the same individual which insults or humiliates regarding physical appearance, voice, accent, clothing, academic ability, alleged sexual orientation, etc.
· Slagging - This behaviour usually refers to good nature fun. However, when “slagging” extends to very personal remarks aimed again and again about appearance, clothing, personal hygiene or references to members of a child’s family, then it can be regarded as bullying. Racist, Ageist or Homophobic bullying will not be tolerated in the school.
· Teacher Behaviour – Sarcasm, humiliating a pupil, degrading physical contact.
· Adult Behaviour: See point 10.0.
4.0 Effects of Bullying.
Insecurity, anxiety, loss of confidence, lowering of self-esteem, changes of mood and behaviour, even suicide.
5.0 Indications of Bullying Behaviour. Signs and Symptoms.
· Anxiety about travelling to school.
· Unwillingness to go to school.
· Deterioration in educational performance.
· Loss of interest in school, lack of concentration.
· Pattern of physical illnesses, i.e. headaches, stomach aches.
· Changes in mood and behaviour noticeable prior to returning to school after holidays or mid-term breaks.
· Signs of anxiety or stress, stammering, nightmares, crying, loss of appetite, bedwetting or difficulty in sleeping.
· Out of character comments or behaviours.
· Possessions missing or damaged.
· Unexplained bruises damage to clothing.
Reluctance to discuss or say what is troubling him/her.
6.0 Characteristics in Bullying Behaviour.
Any pupil can either be a victim or perpetrator of bullying behaviour.
6.1 The Victim.
Any pupil, through no fault of his or her own may be bullied. People may be teased or taunted frequently if they are perceived as different or are emotionally vulnerable. Some pupils can unwittingly behave in a manner, which attracts bullying behaviour.
6.2 The Bully.
Accept that bullying is a learned behaviour. Pupils who bully tend to display aggressive attitudes combined with a low level of self-discipline. They can lack any sense of remorse, often convincing themselves that the victim deserves to be punished. Bullies can also be attention seeking, trying to impress others. Unaware or indifferent to their victims feelings, or even enjoying inflicting pain or humiliation on another. Often they were/are the victims of bullying themselves.
7.0 Where does Bullying Happen?
· School playground.
· Toilets, Cloakrooms, Corridors. These areas require careful supervision.
· Classroom – subtly through glances, looks or sniggers.
· Outside the school gate – On the journey to or from school. On social media or via text/phonecalls/e-mail.
8.0 Procedures for Noting and Reporting an Incident of Bullying Behaviour
- All incidents of bullying, no matter how trivial, will be investigated and dealt with by the teachers. A clear interpretation of the incident can be arrived at through careful and calm questioning. Who? Where? When? Why? What?
- Non-teaching staff are encouraged to report any incidence of bullying behaviour.
- Serious cases of bullying behaviour by pupils are to be referred immediately to the Principal.
- Those involved will be interviewed individually and then collectively.
- Communication with parents will be necessary if behaviour continues.
- Teachers will keep a written record of all serious incidents of misbehaviour.
- It may be helpful to ask children to write down an account of what happened.
Every pupil has the right to enjoy his/her time in Scoil Etchen Naofa, free from bullying.
Our school will not tolerate any unkind actions or remarks, even if these were not meant to hurt.
Pupils should support each other by reporting all instances of bullying.
Bullying is regarded as a very serious matter; no child has a right to strike another, even in “self-defence”.
It is made clear to pupils that when they report incidents of bullying they are not telling tales but are behaving responsibly. It is important to counteract a culture, which may associate “telling” with “informing”. Encouraging a child to strike back is mistaken because it does not address the reasons for the bullying behaviour and it could also result in a child being seriously hurt if the bully is more adept at fighting. Sanctions available through the school “Code of Behaviour” will be imposed appropriately.
10.0 Bullying behaviour among adults.
The problem of Bullying need not be confined to inappropriate peer interaction among children. Teacher/SNA/Staff behaviour may be unacceptable and in certain circumstances be described as bullying. A policy on staff bullying behaviour has been ratified by the BOM and is accessible on the staff website.
Parents/Guardians can also engage in bullying behaviour. Parents should behave appropriately in their interactions with other adults and all children in the school. Parents/Guardians/Adults who engage in sustained unwarranted actions/complaints against specific children, staff and other adults/parents/guardians in the school community may be deemed to be harassing or bullying these individuals.