DEFINITION OF BULLYING
Bullying is repeated aggression, verbal, psychological or physical conducted by an individual or group against others.
Isolated incidents of aggressive behaviour, which should not be condoned, can scarcely be described as bullying. However, when the behaviour is systematic and ongoing, it is bullying.
TYPES OF BULLYING
- Physical Aggression
- Damage of Property
- Name Calling
- To create a school ethos which encourages children to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour.
- To raise awareness of bullying as an unacceptable behaviour with school management, teachers, pupils, parents and guardians.
- To ensure comprehensive supervision and monitoring measures through which all areas of school activity are kept under observation.
- To enable the school to respond as promptly and as effectively as possible should bullying occur
- To make the school a safe and happy environment for all pupils, staff and parents.
- To create and maintain a school ethos which encourages children and parents to recognize, disclose, discuss and deal appropriately with incidents of bullying behaviour.
CREATING A SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT AIMED AT PREVENTING BULLYING
The school aims through this policy to create a school atmosphere and environment, which will help to prevent bullying. This can be achieved if all members of the school community – management, staff (teaching and non-teaching), parents and pupils work together and support each other in an effort to prevent it. The treatment of bullying behaviour will also be instrumental in dealing with the problem and will also prevent its prevention.
THE ROLE OF THE BOARD OF MANAGEMENT IN PREVENTING BULLYING
- The Board of Management is responsible for ensuring that all members of the school community are enabled to deal effectively with bullying.
- The Board is committed to providing time and resources for the implementation of this policy.
- The board will ensure that proper supervisory and monitoring measures are in place to prevent bullying and to deal with incidents appropriately as they arise.
- Incidents of bullying that take place outside of school hours are not the responsibility of the school Board of Management.
THE ROLE OF THE SCHOOL STAFF IN PREVENTING BULLYING
The school staff has a vital role to play in preventing bullying.
As staff we will:
- Foster an atmosphere of friendship, respect and tolerance throughout the school day.
- Try to develop individual pupils self-esteem through the school SPHE programme and by acknowledging and rewarding good behaviour and manners and providing opportunities for success throughout the curriculum and school.
- Help pupils to develop understanding of others by discussing feelings and trying to put themselves in the place of others through the use of Circle Time etc…
- Develop relationships with pupils based on mutual respect and trust so that pupils will have confidence in the school staff.
- Respond sensitively and caringly to pupils who are considered at risk of being bullied.
- Discuss the school’s anti-bullying policy with the pupils.
THE ROLE OF PARENTS/ GUARDIANS IN PREVENTING BULLYING
Parents/Guardians have a most important role in helping their children and school to prevent and deal with bullying. The co-operation of parents is vital for the effective treatment of bullying behaviour. Parents/Guardians can provide very useful help as a source of back-up to strategies which are designed to limit, prevent and treat bullying. These strategies have a far greater chance of success when Parent/Guardians support and co-operate with the school
PROCEDURES FOR NOTING AND REPORTING AN INCIDENT OF BULLYING BEHAVIOUR
- All reports of bullying, no matter how trivial, will be noted, investigated and dealt with by teachers. In that way pupils will gain confidence in “telling”. This confidence factor is of vital importance.
- Serious cases of bullying behaviour by pupils will be referred immediately to the Principal.
- Parents or guardians of victims and bullies will be informed of the incidents by the Principal earlier rather than later so that they are given the opportunity of discussing the matter. They are then in a position to help and support their children before a crisis occurs.
- Non-teaching staff are encouraged to report any incident of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, to the teaching staff.
PROCEDURES FOR INVESTIGATING AND DEALING WITH BULLYING
- Teachers will take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach when dealing with incidents of bullying behaviour reported by either pupils, staff or parents / guardians. Such incidents will be investigated outside the classroom situation to avoid the public humiliation of the victim or the pupil engaged in bullying behaviour. In any incident of bullying, the teacher will speak separately to the pupils involved, in an attempt to get both side of the story. All interviews will be conducted with sensitivity and with due regard to the rights of all pupils concerned. Pupils who are not directly involved can also provide useful information in this way.
- When analysing incidents of bullying behaviour, the teacher will seek answers to questions of what, where, when, who and why, 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 will be interviewed individually and then the individuals are met as a group. Each member will be asked for his/her account of what happened to ensure that everyone is clear about wheat everyone else has said.
- If it is concluded that a pupil has engaged I n bullying behaviour, it will be made clear to him/her how he/she is in breach of the Code of Behaviour and every effort will be made to try to get him/her to see the situation from the victim’s point of view.
- Each member of the group will be helped to handle the possible pressures that often face them from the other members after interview by the teacher.
- Teachers who are investigating cases of bullying behaviour will keep a written record of their discussions with those involved. It may also be appropriate or helpful to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident.
- In cases where it has been determined that bullying behaviour has occurred, the Teacher/Principal will meet with the parents or guardians of the two parties involved as appropriate to (a) explain the actions being take and the reasons for them, referring them to the school policy and (b) discuss way in which they can reinforce or support the actions taken by the school.
- Separate follow-up meetings, with the two parties involved will be arranged, with a view to possibly bringing them together at a later date if the victim is agreeable. This can have a therapeutic effect.
When dealing with cases of actual bullying the school will follow the steps as outlined in “The No Blame Approach” by Barbara Maines and George Robinson – Lucky Duck Publications.
SCHOOL FOLLOW UP
- Incidents of bullying will be used as opportunities for re-enforcing the anti-bullying policy of the school.
- Follow-up meetings will take place to see if treatment is succeeding and in order to restore relationships.