in Respect of Students
Ard Scoil na nDéise - April 2014
Download the Anti-bullying Policy in Word Format | Download the Recording Form | Download the Annual Review 2015
1. In accordance with the requirements of the Education Welfare Act 2000 and the code of behaviour guidelines issued by the National Education Welfare Board, the Board of Management of Ard Scoil na nDéise 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 recognises the very serious nature of bullying and the negative impact 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-
o is welcoming of difference and diversity and is based on inclusivity;
o encourages pupils to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour in a non-threatening environment; and
o 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 educational and preventative strategies (including awareness raising measures) that-
o build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils and
o 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 in dealing with bullying;
• 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,
• identity-based bullying such as homophobic bullying, transphobic 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 will be dealt with, if 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.
Cyber Bullying involves the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated and hostile behaviour by an individual or group that is intended to harm others.
Circulating, publishing or distributing (including on the internet) material associated with school activities including but not limited to material in relation to staff and students where such circulation undermines, humiliates or causes damage to another person is considered a serious breach of school discipline and may result in disciplinary action. As part of such disciplinary action the Board of Management reserves the right to suspend or expel a student or students where it considers the actions to warrant such sanctions.
4. The relevant teacher(s) who may be involved in investigating and dealing with bullying are as follows:
All teachers, Class Tutors, Year Heads, Deputy Principal and Principal
5. The education and prevention strategies that will be used by the school are as follows:
• S.P.H.E. programme at Junior level exploring the topics of belonging and integrating, communication, conflict, friendship, identity, personal safety and relationships.
• R.S.E. programme at Transition Year level, including the Growing Up L.G.B.T. programme.
• effective supervision, particularly at break time and lunch time.
• awareness raising measures such as an anti-bullying day, poster competitions, talks by outside speakers, performance of drama on the topic of bullying
• continuous emphasis on respecting others, building empathy and helping one another. In this context, all pupils and parents are required to sign the Ard Scoil na nDéise “Personal Commitment” in the Code of Behaviour as part of the enrolment process.
• emphasis on the importance of pupils and parents reporting concerns. When they report suspected incidents of bullying they are not considered to be telling tales but are behaving responsibly.
• information and discussion on safe on-line behaviour
• talks for parents on bullying, especially cyber-bullying
• practical measures to integrate students with disabilities and students with Special Educational Needs
• work on development of social skills among students.
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 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.
Investigating the Incident
• Following the reporting of an alleged incident of bullying by an individual or group, the matter will be investigated as discreetly and as soon as possible or referred to the appropriate authorities.
• In investigating and dealing with alleged bullying the teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best the situation might be resolved.
• 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.
• Witnesses will be asked to give an account, verbally and/or in writing, of what happened, why, where, when and who was involved.
• When there are concerns that bullying may have taken place and if a group is involved, each member will be interviewed individually. Each student will be asked for her account of what happened.
• The parents of the parties involved will be contacted to inform them of the matter and explain the actions being taken.
• If it is established that bullying has taken place it will be made clear to the offending student how she is in breach of the school’s Anti-Bullying Policy and efforts will be made to try to get her to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied.
• Parents will be given an opportunity to discuss ways in which they can reinforce or support the actions being taken by the school and the supports for the pupils.
• As is usual in the case of incidents which arise in school a written record of the student’s (or group of students’) misbehaviour will be kept. Details of communication from/with the parents and parties involved will also be recorded.
• The school’s Code of Behaviour will be implemented if deemed appropriate.
• It will be made clear to all involved (each set of students and parents) that in any situation where disciplinary sanctions are required, this is a private matter between the pupil being disciplined, her parents and the school.
• In serious circumstances the bullying behaviour will be recorded on the Recording Form and reported immediately to the Principal or Deputy Principal.
• Extremely serious instances of bullying behaviour will be referred by the Principal to the HSE Children and Family Services and/or Gardaí.
Action in relation to Bullying Behaviour
Once it has been established that bullying has taken place certain steps will be taken. The measures taken will include some of the following:
• Speaking with the pupil(s) involved
• Communication with parents/guardians
• Referral to the Class Tutor/Year Head/Deputy Principal/Principal/Guidance Counsellor etc
• Appearance before the Board of Discipline
• Loss of privileges
• Verbal agreements concerning future behaviour
• Written contracts concerning future behaviour.
• Suspension for a defined period
Untrue or malicious allegation will be treated as a serious matter.
• In cases where the relevant teacher considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days after he/she has determined that bullying behaviour has occurred, he/she will record the matter on the Recording Form and submit it to the Principal or Deputy Principal for further consideration.
• Where a parent is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with the procedures the parent will be referred to the school’s complaints procedures. In the event that a parent has exhausted the school’s complaints procedures and is still not satisfied the parent will be advised to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.
The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:
• Follow-up meetings with the relevant parties involved will 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.
• If the students involved in the bullying issue require assistance under the school’s pastoral care policy, this will be provided by offering the students access to counselling sessions during school time.
• A “buddy” or mentoring system may be put in place to assist a student in managing a bullying or harassment incident in the school community.
• The students involved may be monitored by the Class Tutor or Year Head.
• A short Social Skills programme may be put in place for the student(s) concerned.
• From time to time, talks and activities to raise awareness of the serious effects of bullying and harassment will be presented to students under the Social, Personal and Health Education Curriculum and in senior Religious Education classes.
• Management and staff of Ard Scoil na nDéise will be proactive in their efforts to ensure that every pupil at this school enjoys the right to participate in school life free of bullying and to experience an atmosphere of safety and security.
• In cases where the school has serious concerns in relation to managing the behaviour of a student the advice of the National Education Psychological Service will be sought.
Once a term the Principal will report to the Board of Management on the number of bullying cases reported and will confirm that all cases have been or are being dealt with.
7. Supervision and Monitoring of Pupils
The Board of Management confirms that appropriate supervision and monitoring practices are in place to both prevent and deal with bullying behaviour and to facilitate early intervention where possible.
8. 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.
9. This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on ___________ (date).
10. This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website and provided to the Parents’ Council. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department of Education and Skills and the patron if requested.
11. 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’ Council. A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department of Education and Skills.
(Chairperson of Board of Management) (Principal)
Date: 27th March, 2014
Date of next review: April 2015
Download the Anti-bullying Policy in Word Format | Download the Recording Form | Download the Annual Review 2015