Anti-Bullying Policy

Kilmagner National School

Fermoy, Co. Cork         Established 1878   Phone:  (025) 36802

email address.  kilmagnerns.ias@eircom.net

Anti-Bullying Policy 

Introduction:

  • This anti-bullying policy operates in conjunction with the Code of Behaviour, which is used to address isolated instances of anti-social behaviour. 
  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 Kilmagner 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.
  1. 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;
    • Promotes respectful relationships across the school community;
  • Effective leadership;
  • A school-wide approach;
  • A shared understanding of what bullying is and it’s 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).
  • On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy.

 

Aims of the Policy:

  • To foster a school ethos of mutual and self-respect.
  • To raise awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behaviour.
  • To outline, promote and raise awareness of preventative approaches that can be used in response to reported incidences of bullying.
  • To develop a programme of support for those affected by bullying behaviour and for those involved in bullying behaviour.
  • To outline procedures for noting and reporting instances of bullying behaviour.
  • To outline procedures for investigating and dealing with incidents of bullying behaviour.

The Definition of Bullying:

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:

  • Physical Aggression:  It includes pushing, shoving, punching, poking and tripping people up.  It may also take the form of severe physical assault.
  •  Damage of Property:  Personal property can be the focus of attention for the bully; this may result in damage to clothing, school books and other learning material or interference with a pupil’s property.  Items of personal property may be defaced, broken, stolen or hidden.
  •  Extortion:  Demands for money may be made, often accompanied by threats (something carried out) in the event of the victim not  promptly “paying up”.  Victims’ lunches or after-school money may be taken.  Victims may also be forced into theft of property for delivery to the bully.  Sometimes this tactic is used with the sole purpose of incriminating the victim.
  •  Intimidation:  Some bullying behaviour takes the form of intimidation; it is based on the use of very aggressive body language with the voice being used as a weapon.  Particularly upsetting to victims can be the so-called “look” – a facial expression that conveys aggression and/or like dislike. 
  • Isolation:  A certain person is deliberately isolated, excluded or ignored by some, or all, of the class group.  The person engaged in bullying behaviour usually initiates this practice.  It may be accompanied by writing insulting remarks about the victim on whiteboards or in public places, by passing around notes about or drawings of the victim or by whispering insults about them loud enough to be heard. 
  • Name Calling:  Persistent name-calling directed at the same individual(s), which hurts, insults or humiliates, should be regarded as a form of bullying behaviour. 
  • Slagging:  This behaviour usually refers to the good-natured banter, which goes on as part of the normal social interchange between people.  However, when this slagging extends to very personal remarks aimed again and again at the one individual about appearance, clothing, and personal hygiene or involves references of an uncomplimentary nature to members of one’s family or sexual innuendo, then it assumes the form of bullying.  It may take the form of suggestive remarks about a pupil’s sexual orientation.
  • 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.

Cyber Bullying 

  • Cyber bullying includes (but is not limited to) communicating via electronic means with the objective of causing hurt, fear, embarrassment, humiliation, alarm and/or distress to one or more persons.
  • Cyber bullying includes the use of mobile phones and the internet with the objective of upsetting someone.
  • It may take the form of general insults or impersonation, defamation or prejudice-based bullying.
  • Cyber bullying refers to bullying which is carried out using the internet, mobile or other technological devices.  It can take the form of sending nasty or threatening messages, emails, photos or video clips; silent phone calls; putting up nasty posts or pictures on a message board, website or chat room; saying hurtful things in a chat room/session; pretending to be someone else; spreading rumours; accessing someone else’s account; offensive or pestering text messages; exclusion from social networking sites.
  • Unlike other forms of bullying a once-off posting can constitute bullying.
  • While this policy addresses issues related to cyber bullying of students (i.e. situations in which one or more students are the victim(s) of bullying), the policy also applies to teaching and other school staff.

 

Key Measures re Cyber Bullying

  • The designated staff-member who is acting as a Cyber –Safety-Officer, Ms. Howard will oversee the practices and procedures outlined in this policy, monitor their effectiveness, and report on this to the Principal.
  • Staff will be trained to identify signs of cyber bullying and will be helped to keep informed about the technologies that children commonly use.
  • Advice will be communicated to help students protect themselves from being involved in bullying (as perpetrator or a victim) and to advise them on reporting any incidents.
  • Students will be informed about cyber bullying in the course of their education at the school.
  • Gardaí will continue to visit the school once a year to talk about cyber bullying.
  • Teachers will dedicate a standalone lesson to deal with the issue of cyber bullying.
  • Students and staff are expected to comply with the school’s policy on the use of computers in the School. (Acceptable user policy).
  • Parents and students are advised that it is illegal for a child under 13 to register with and use many social media networks, including Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat and What’sApp.
  • Kilmagner National School endeavours to block access to inappropriate web sites using firewalls, antivirus protection and filtering systems. The N.C.T.E provides broadband service to our school and provides the filtering system.
  • No pupil is allowed to work on the Internet in any location without a member of staff present.

Isolated or once-off incidents of intentional negative behaviour do not fall within the definition of bullying and should be dealt with, as appropriate, in accordance with the schools’ 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 our school’s code of behaviour.

This policy applies to activities and events that take place:

  • During school time (including break times).
  • School tours/trips.
  • Extra-curricular activities.

Kilmagner National School reserves the right to take action against bullying perpetrated outside the school which spills over into the school.

Who is Responsible for Doing What:

The Relevant Teacher:

In these procedures, the member of teaching staff who has responsibility for investigating and dealing with bullying is referred to as the “relevant teacher”.  At primary level, the teacher will normally be the class teacher.

  •  In the event of the relevant teacher not being in the position to investigate o deal with an incident the Principal/Deputy Principal will lead the investigation. 
  • Temporary and substitute staff will be made aware of the school’s code of behaviour and its anti-bullying policy by School Management. 

Those Responsible for Implementing This Policy:

  • All Teaching Staff, with the support of SNAs, will investigate and record incidents of bullying behaviour in the classroom..
  • Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) will assist teachers in monitoring pupils and activities on yard.

Our Education and Prevention Strategies

The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber bullying, homophobic and transphobic bullying) that will be used by the school are as follows:

  • Stay Safe Programme.
  • Walk Tall Programme.
  • Religion:  Alive O Programme.
  • S.P.H.E. Curriculum.
  • Friends Programme.
  • Circle Time.
  • Prim-Ed Anti-bullying resources.

 

Children will not be allowed to bring mobile phones to school in an effort to prevent possible cyber-bullying (see Mobile Phone Policy).  The Gardaí or other relevant personnel will speak to senior pupils from time to time on the safe use of the internet. 

 

Our Procedures for investigating and dealing with bullying

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:

  1. Since the failure to report bullying can lead to a continuation or a deterioration of bullying, the school and parents encourage children to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour without delay. This can be with the class teacher, the teacher on yard duty at the time, SNA’s, and the principal or with parents.  This is a “telling school” as defined in the Stay Safe Programme. Children will therefore be constantly assured that their reports of bullying either for themselves or peers will be treated with sensitivity.
  1. The code of behaviour will be invoked in circumstances where it is deemed prudent by the relevant teacher and school principal.
  1. An incident of bullying behaviour will be noted and recorded by the class teacher or the teacher on duty/yard duty.
  1. The incident will be investigated – what, who, when, where, why? This will be done in a calm manner.
  1. The alleged “bully” will be asked to reflect on his/her behaviour and its consequences for himself/herself and for the person who is affected by the behaviour.
  1. He/She will be asked to reflect on the following questions:

 

  1. What did I do?
  2. Did I hurt someone?
  3. How does that person feel?
  4. How can I fix it?
  5. What can I do next time?

 

The teacher will exercise professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and as to how it can be resolved. Teachers will take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach when dealing with incidents of alleged bullying behaviour reported by pupils, staff or parents.

  1. Incidents will be investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved.
  1. 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 very useful information in this way.
  1. When analyzing incidents of bullying behaviour, the relevant teacher will seek answers to questions of what, where, when, who and why in a calm manner setting an example of dealing effectively with a conflict in a non-aggressive manner. 
  1. 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.
  1. If necessary the aggressor will be asked to sign an undertaking that “this behaviour will not reoccur”.
  1. It is very important that all involved (including each set of pupils and parents) understand the above approach from the outset. An effort will be made to resolve any issues and to restore as far as practicable the relationships.
  1. If a group is involved, each member will be interviewed individually at first. Thereafter, all those involved will be met as a group.  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.
  1. Each member of a group will be supported through the possible pressures that they may face from the other members after interview by the teacher.
  1. It may also be appropriate or helpful to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident(s).
  1. In cases where it has been determined by the relevant teacher that serious bullying behaviour has occurred, the parents of the parties involved will 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 will give parents an opportunity of discussing ways in which they can reinforce or support the actions being taken by the school and the supports for their pupils.
  1. Where the relevant teacher has determined that a pupil has been engaged in bullying behaviour, it will be made clear to him/her how he/she is in breach of the school’s anti-bullying policy and efforts will be made to try to get him/her to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied.
  1. It must be 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 pupil being disciplined, his or her parents and the school.
  1. Follow-up meetings with the relevant parties involved will be arranged separately (if necessary) 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.
  1. The situation will continue to be monitored to ensure that the problem has been resolved. Actions taken will be recorded.  Records will be reviewed and analyzed.
  1. 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.
  1. Serious incidents, or a recurring incident of bullying behaviour which has in the opinion of a teacher has not been adequately or appropriately addressed within 20 school days will be recorded on the DES template. The teacher will also use the DES recording template where he/she considers the bullying behaviour to constitute serious misconduct.
  1. If a case remains unresolved the matter will be referred to the school’s Board of Management. The Board will also be briefed in relation to the number, if any, of templates which have been completed.
  • Where a parent is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, the parents will be referred, as appropriate, to the school’s Board of Management.
  • In the event that a parent has exhausted the school’s complaints procedures and is still not satisfied, the school will advise the parents of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.

 

Procedures for Reporting Bullying Behaviour

All records will be maintained in accordance with relevant data protection legislation.  The school’s procedures for noting and reporting bullying will adhere to the following:

While all reports, including anonymous reports of bullying will be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher, he/she 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;

  1. 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.
  2. Written records should include :
    1. record of the  report/information given about the alleged incident
    2. the actions taken
    3. any discussions with those involved regarding same
    4.  Principal/Deputy Principal should be informed of all incidents being investigated.
  1. If it is established by the relevant teacher that bullying has occurred the relevant teacher must keep written records which will assist his/her efforts to resolve the issues and restore as far as is practicable the relationship s of those involved.
  1. The school will store records concerning incidents of serious misbehavior which have been deemed bullying behavior in the judgement of the relevant teacher, in a Serious Misconduct file, in a secure location.
  1. The relevant teacher will use the recording template at 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.
    2. Where the school has decided as part of its anti-bullying policy that in certain circumstances bullying behaviour will 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 at Appendix 3 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 at Appendix 3 does not in any way preclude the relevant teacher from consulting the Principal or Deputy Principal at an earlier stage in relations to a case.

In cases where a school has serious concerns in relation to managing the behaviour of a pupil, the advice of the National Education Psychological Service (NEPS) will be sought.

In relation to bullying in schools, Children First National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2011 (Children First) and the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools provide that in situations where the incident is serious and where the behaviour is regarded as potentially abusive, the school may consult the HSE Children and Family Social Services and/or /Gardaí as appropriate with a view to drawing up an appropriate response, such as a management plan”.

The School’s Programme of Support

The school’s Programme of Support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:

  1. S.P.H.E.
  2. Circle Time
  3. Social Skills Training
  4. Friends for Life.
  5. Our support teacher will facilitate self-esteem building activities with individuals/ small groups if deemed necessary.
  6. Curricular and extracurricular activities to develop positive self worth.
  7. Consult with all staff, and draw up a plan of action as required.
  8. Principal’s Award.
  9. Star/Pupil of the Week. 

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 obligation 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.

 

 

Availability of This Policy

This policy has been made available to school personnel and provided to the Parents Association and a copy is available in the school for anyone who wishes to read it.

A copy of the policy will be forwarded to all families.

Review of This Policy

  • 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 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.
  • This policy will be discussed with all staff at the beginning of each school year.